Google recently announced that page speed will be a ranking signal for mobile search starting in July.
This is something most SEO pros have suspected for quite some time, but we’re glad it is now confirmed as Google has also started to roll out the mobile index, which squarely puts mobile first.
Page speed is incredibly important for user experience.
Pages that take a long time to load tend to have higher bounce rates.
Slow-loading pages can also negatively impact your conversion rates because end users won’t patiently wait for pages to load.
But Why Else Should You Care?
Since Google launched the mobile index and embraced a mobile-first approach by dedicating a main index for mobile, I think page speed could become more of a mid-level signal than a lightweight signal like HTTPs.
If you provide users with a good content and user experience and they can find what they are looking for – and the content experience meets their intent across all devices and platforms and provides value – why not?
Here are five things you can do to get ready.
1. Provide a Great Content Experience
Get ready for the mobile index by making sure that you are providing the right content experience and have high-quality content that satisfies user intent.
The path to purchase isn’t linear. It’s fragmented.
You must have content that satisfies all stages of the user journey.
2. Make Your Site Super Fast
Make sure your pages load as quickly as possible, preferably within one to two seconds.
Users are not going to sit around and wait for your page to load to find a solution to their problem or find something they are searching for.
There are (at least) nine other sites that are trying to get the click and so your site must load as quickly as possible to remain competitive.
3. Consider Using AMP
While AMP isn’t a ranking factor right now, it could be in the future.
There are other ways to speed up your website if you do not want to use AMP.
However, you should consider using AMP because these pages load extremely fast – and you could potentially increase your conversions and see improved search engine rankings once AMP becomes a ranking signal.
4. Check Your Mobile-Friendliness
Use the PageSpeed Insights tool or Gtmetrix tools to start to look at your mobile page speed and make sure all your pages are mobile friendly.
5. Have a Strong Call to Action
While this falls out of SEO a little bit, you also want to make sure you show users a strong call to action right when they hit your site.
If your intent is for them to download a brochure or take another action when they arrive on your landing page, make sure the user finds that CTA rather quickly.
Can You Test the Results of the Mobile Page Speed?
With Google having many different signals for mobile, it would be wise to test the impact of mobile page speed on your search engine visibility and performance, but this could be extremely difficult to do. I have outlined to potential test solutions below.
In an ideal world – and in a vacuum ecosystem – you could probably set up some logical A/B test by creating two identical pages on the same domain.
With the same template, you would create unique content focused on very similar keywords.
For example, page one will be optimized for “yellow long-range drones” and the other page optimized for “blue long-range drones”.
Wait until they start ranking, let’s say in positions 75-ish. Then add some heavy scripts to one of the pages and measure outcomes.
By the time you’re done with this test, Google will release some new mobile index updates that might mess up your test data. ☺
Better yet, take this page while it is within striking distance, somewhere between 11-19 and watch it to rank up to page 1 or not – and whether you get more conversions.
With the launch of the mobile index and Google now stating that speed will be a factor for mobile it is time to start taking this seriously.
Doing so should help improve your user experience, increase conversions, keep users on your site longer, and drive more organic traffic.
More Page Speed Resources:
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