Mobile usage of the internet has been steadily increasing due to the fact that our phones and mobile devices continue to upgrade their ease of use. Once Google began with mobile first indexing we all knew that it was just a matter of time before mobile was the focus. Not only has it become the focus, in some ways Google is ignoring desktop altogether. The tools available from Google specifically for mobile seem to be added to daily. As an agency we consistently spend time learning each day about upcoming products, services and requirements so that there’s no loss of traffic simply because we are not playing by the rules. Here are 4 things that you can use to figure out if you are putting enough emphasis on your mobile experience.
1. Compare Your Mobile Site Speed
This is Think with Google’s newest tool for testing mobile site speed vs what they consider the “standard”. If you look just a few blogs back you will notice we made a post about Google Page Speed Insights and Your Sanity . In that blog we detailed the massive change that happened in November of 2018 and how it dramatically affected Mobile Speed Scores. Before that point, Google has continually made algorithm changes but very few with such a massive specific effect. If your site isn’t anywhere close to the standard speed expected, then you put yourself in danger of being surpassed by your competitors when it comes to the total relevance score.
2. Use GTMetrix.com
Achieving high mobile speeds has mostly to do with how little the site has to load when someone visits. The heavier it is, the longer it will take. There are so many different variables that come into play when it comes to determining this. For example, here are a few items that GTMetrix gives you information about:
Don’t get too caught up in the different categories (let your web developer handle those things). Instead, just look at the result as a whole. There’s a reason why the main result only gives you 5 prominent numbers for you to see first; PageSpeed Score, YSlow Score, Fully Loaded Time, Total Page Size and Requests. Let’s talk about each of these and why they are significant.
PageSpeed-YSlow – These are the first listed because they include dozens of factors that are then are built into a score. This score is just a broad representation of how “happy” search engines are with your website. Note that it doesn’t have anything to do with your actual content, just the technical aspects of the website.
Fully Loaded Time – The number here is self explanatory; it’s just how many seconds it takes for your page to load. The average loading time across all the internet is 7.2 seconds. That doesn’t mean if your site is 7.2 seconds or under, you’re good. Instead Google recommends a loading time of 3.0 seconds. This means the 7.2 second average will decrease quickly. There is already technology that is pushing load times to near virtual. All website visitors expect a fast loading page.
Total Page Size – This is all of the pieces of the homepage (code, images, scripts, etc.) all added into one number. The larger it is, the longer it will take to load. The lighter the pieces, the better the result.
Requests – This is the number of times that the website has to reach out to external resources in order to load the page. The more requests it makes, the longer it takes to load. More tangibly, on wordpress sites, plugins add requests. Adding endless plugins without being able to utilize all its functionality adds to requests and load times without any benefit to the site or the user.
3. Google’s Mobile Friendly Test
Google gives us a nice little tool to check mobile compatibility here .
Once you scan your URL you will receive a pass or fail result.
Notice that even Google’s homepage itself shows “page loading issues” even though it’s, well, Google. If you click on that area then you are going to see the below.
Just because things show up here doesn’t mean that something is necessarily wrong. You’ll notice above that the page still passed and is mobile friendly. This is just a secondary testing tool to let your developer know if something specific is causing the page to not load properly.
4. Google Chrome Inspect
If you are using a chrome browser which is 2/3+ of all users, then you already have a built in tool that you can use to see what a site looks like on multiple mobile devices. Using chrome, if you right click (or the equivalent of that on other non mouse devices) you will get this:
If you select it you will get this:
Don’t let all of the stuff on the right side overwhelm you. There is a lot of information there, but we are more concerned with 3 things; the 2 yellow highlighted areas and of course how it actually looks on that device as pictured. *Note that sometimes when you switch to look at a specific mobile device it won’t show you the actual mobile version. Just to be sure refresh the page. Once it has loaded you will be able to use chome + your mouse (or similar device) to navigate the website as if it were on the mobile device you specified. This will give you a good idea of what it’s like for your users in a mobile environment. This is helpful when you don’t have a mobile device to test with or you are wanting to see your site on a specific resolution.
It’s a common misconception that a website is seen 1 way by Google just in different resolutions. The reality is that Google sees websites as 2 websites; one for mobile devices and one for everything else. They also have 2 totally different search algorithms. Since the majority of users are mobile, that’s where your emphasis should be as well. It won’t be long before Google begins to move towards a zero weight recommendation for websites. That is, that it loads in what seems instant. It does seem like a lot of work, but as a consumer yourself, that’s exactly what you expect!