How your site speed will affect your visibility on organic, mobile search

On January 17th of this year, Google announced that website speed will determine visibility for organic, mobile search and will be implemented by July 2018. Other factors such as relevancy will still matter, but Google’s Speed Update will rank slower performing pages lower on mobile searches, which accounts for 58% of US Google search traffic in 2016.


Getting Ahead For Mobile Search

While there is no tool that directly indicates whether a page is affected by this new ranking factor, there are obvious pointers to improve your site(s) such as performance and accessibility.

Keep in mind, some variables are out of a developer’s control since load times vary dramatically from user to user, depending on their device capabilities and network conditions. There are free developer tools Google offers such as their site speed insights report that can help determine how your mobile website loads to the average user.


Mobile Site Preparation Checklist

You can control how quickly your webpage is loading upfront, but the initial homepage isn’t the only factor to consider. A seamless performance is the key to staying on top in addition to keeping positive ROI for AdWords mobile traffic. The functionality of the entire website is crucial.

For example, if your website loads in a few seconds and the user is unable to fill out the contact form on the mobile page until later, this could be an issue with the JavaScript executing the form functions. Consider minifying JavaScript to ensure that all forms and links are operational and optimizing images to start.

Additionally, Google suggests using their mobile user-centric performance metrics and asking the following:

  • Is it happening? Did the navigation start successfully? Has the server responded?
  • Is it useful?    Has enough content rendered that users can engage with it?
  • Is it usable?    Can users interact with the page, or is it still busy loading?
  • Is it delightful?   Are the interactions smooth and natural, free of lag and jank?