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Google Prioritizes Mobile PageSpeed. Do You?

  • CATEGORY: SEO

Last month, Google Customer Solutions president Mary Ellen Coe penned an article urging businesses to prioritize mobile page speed optimization on an ongoing basis.

“The reality is that no matter how fast your site is today, if it’s not an ongoing priority, over time that speed will decay,” she writes.

And with that speed, so will your search engine visibility and user experience.

Mobile Page Speed

Let’s get back to basics for a moment. What’s mobile page speed?

Mobile page speed is a measurement of how long a page takes to load in a user’s browser.

Since most web pages involve a variety of elements, Google takes the following measurements into account when calculating speed score:

  • First Contentful Paint measures when the first element (text or image) is painted.
  • First Meaningful Paint measures when the first meaningful content becomes visible. So, First Contentful Paint might mark when the background loads whereas First Meaningful Paint might mark the appearance of body text.
  • Speed Index measures how quickly a page’s elements become visible.
  • Time to Interactive measures how quickly those elements become interactive.
  • First CPU Idle measures when the page becomes minimally interactive.
  • Estimated Input Latency measures the response time for user input.

Beyond numbers on a page, the six elements of mobile page speed make a tangible difference in how users perceive and engage with your business’s website. For instance, a page with slow input latency will feel glitchy and unresponsive to users, while a page with a quick first content paint will feel frictionless.

Why Page Speed Matters

Imagine you’re researching a venue for an upcoming event. Visiting all available sites would be time-consuming, so you want pictures, pricing, and reviews in advance to narrow the list. With so many options available, it’s likely you’d quickly leave a slow and frustrating site. You’ll probably find a great venue elsewhere, but the owner of that website would have missed out on a lucrative contract.

A slow website makes finding information impractical and frustrating–hardly the state of mind we want to push visitors towards–if they even stay on the site. Slow mobile page speed has a quantifiable impact on your business’s bottom line.

A majority of folks (54%) say that their frustration increases alongside mobile site load time. As their frustration builds, users are less likely to share content and foster brand loyalty. A one-second delay in load time can impact conversion rates by up to 20%, not including the impact on a customer’s lifetime value.

Prioritizing mobile page speed has many clear benefits, and Google added another with last July’s Mobile Speed Update. The update made mobile page speed an official ranking factor, providing an extra incentive to adhering businesses.

Together, the boost in customer experience and SERP placement can have a significant impact on sales. In her article, Coe gave the following examples:

  • The German branch of Dakine, an outdoor clothing company, cut the load time of its home page by 55%, its category pages by 48%, and its product pages by 65%. Over the next year, they experienced a 31% increase in mobile traffic and a 45% increase in mobile revenue.
  • Telefónica, a private telecom company, improved load times on its mobile site by 70% with Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP). As a result, their click-through rate (CTR) improved by 31%.
  • BMW used AMP and Progressive Web Apps (PWA) to improve page speed under all conditions. The result? Nearly 4x more users clicked from BMW.com to a BMW sales site.

A friction-free online experience is paramount for building brand loyalty and increasing sales. Businesses cannot afford to ignore mobile page speed or treat it like a one-and-done project, as Google’s requirements and the available resources are constantly evolving. To see how your site’s mobile page speed stacks up against the competition, reach out to GPO today.

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