Did you know that Google takes into account the speed at which your mobile landing page loads when it calculates your page ranking?
Ridiculous? Maybe. Potentially costly? Absolutely!
“A lot of marketers are not aware of this, but Page Speed can actually impact your Quality Score,” confirms Benjamin Spiegel, director of SEO operations at Catalyst, a US search engine marketing firm.
“Sure, people are more likely to convert on a faster loading page, but there’s more to it than that,” he writes in an article on the Marketing Land website. “Google considers Page Speed to be a key component of the landing page experience.”
And we're not talking about huge margins for error here, we're talking in terms of, wait for it... milliseconds! According to Google, “Research has shown that any delay longer than a second will cause the user to interrupt their flow of thought, creating a poor experience”.
“Our goal is to keep the user engaged with the page and deliver the optimal experience, regardless of device or type of network,” a blog on the Google Developers web page says.
In August 2013 Google released a new tool, known as PageSpeed Mobile, to help site owners optimise for mobile. In information provided on the PageSpeed Insights web page, Google explains how the tool analyses the mobile version of a page and tailors suggestions based on the characteristics of mobile networks and mobile devices.
For instance, since mobile devices have less processing power than desktop computers, suggestions that reduce processor consumption are offered. Another way to help Google in its mission of speeding up the (mobile) web, is to check out the company’s mobile-specific help pages.
It’s a good idea to test your pages using the PageSpeed Insights tool before and after you make changes to see whether you made any improvements.
However, don't expect immediate, earth-shaking results, as PageSpeed Mobile probably won't quicken up your mobile loading speeds in a big way overnight.
Experts suggest the ability to consistently keep mobile page loads at or below one second is optimistic at best, given today’s average mobile page typically takes more than seven seconds to load.
Performance on mobile continues to improve, but not very quickly and there’s still a long way to go. Loading pages in a few hundred milliseconds is no easy feat and it’s often impossible with the technology available today to most users.