Mobility and Web Site Speed

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Mobility and Site Speed

Mobility is your Web site’s body language. Your Web site needs to prove to search engines it can overcome the first hurdle of user experience: Speed.

When it comes to Google’s algorithm, first impressions mean the most. A fast, user-friendly page greets the search engine with a warm welcome. Think of it like an eager handshake, building trust with Google’s index.

Google changed its ranking factors to provide a better experience for SERP users. They downplayed the effect of speed. It has been proven that user experience is influenced by a series of mobility factors.

When search engines crawl your page, mobility and site speed can mean the difference between showing on the first page and not ranking at all.

Inconsistent Speed Affects Rankings

According to research conducted by Akami, 47% of consumers expect the website to load in 2 seconds or less. For every 1 second delay, conversions are reduced by a whopping 7%.

It impacts your conversions AND your Web site will face lower ranking.

The search algorithm uses the time to first byte (TTFB) and service speed. A slower page leads to higher bounce rates and less time spent on each page.

Akamai’s 2014 State of the Internet report released that found the TTFB times of up to 60 seconds hugely reduces the chance of ranking. Hosting your site on a mass web host and delivering inconsistent speed can explain why a front-page result drops off completely.

The bottom line — even a few seconds can shape your rankings.

Slow Sites Reduce Google Rankings and Page Indexing

In 2013 Matt Cutts warned webmasters that a site speed ranking factor would likely be added for mobile sites (Search Engine Land, 2013). Google recommends responsively designed websites when optimizing for mobile devices (Google 2013).

What isn’t entirely clear is if Google will penalize a desktop site’s rankings for a slow mobile site, or penalize the mobile site only for slow mobile performance. Of course with responsive sites, there is plenty of overlap in the content delivered.

Since the average mobile site speed penalty is about 50% (King 2014) webmasters should err on the side of caution when designing and optimizing their mobile sites. Note that elements improperly hidden in mobile sites may still be downloaded, slowing mobile performance (King 2013).

Looking Beyond the User Experience

Google scans through the mobile version first when coming up with results. A strong display can be attractive, but user experience involves the overall usability of the website.

The SERP results ranked the highest deliver in all aspects of the user experience. Beyond looks, how the pages navigate and respond define how the Web site visitors will behave. While Google indexes the mobile version of your site first, it factors in much more than just the presence of a tablet-friendly page.

Service speed involves the backend or coding of your websites. If there is too much CSS, Javascript or HTML stored on the server, response time will be impacted. WordPress has ways of limiting this usage, including the use of shortcodes and other applications.

If you are savvy to code, it is easy to identify factors that impact the user experience. But without the expertise, your website can easily be flooded with errors such as unsupported video, Flash or other configuration problems.

Reducing Code Bloat

WordPress and other platforms are full of features that add value to your site. But are your plugins hurting you when it comes to site speed?

Often more code can be damaging to your site, in terms of both use and profitability. Minimizing CSS, Javascript and HTML will increase response time and allow for easy updates.

WordPress themes may be the quickest route for web development but often at the sacrifice of site performance.

Have embedded video or HTML5 apps? What about redirects or custom fonts? Chances are site speed is sacrificed to some degree. Cascading file sheets may not take up much space but there are many

The HTTP Archive’s calculated the average web page size to be around 720 kilobytes. This proves many sites have reached the tipping point of mobility. Experts in web performance assert that anything over 700 for mobile is too heavy. There are tools such as Cloudflare to chop down the amount of data, however, it is important to approach the bloat holistically.

Your Web site needs to be optimized content-wise without creating too much weight. You need to find the sweet spot between aesthetics and site speed.

What’s Hurting Your Mobility?

Over half of Web traffic is coming from mobile users.

Google relies on your site’s ‘mobility’ to index search results. This could mean the difference between ranking on the first page and be tucked away, or even worse, not showing up at all.

Lacking the technical SEO ‘know-how’? Allegiant can help with a FREE site audit.