A few months ago in July 2018, Google began the roll-out of their new page speed update. What does this mean for the average WordPress website? If you haven’t already, it’s time to start optimizing the mobile version of your site as much (if not more!) than your desktop version. In the past, the Google algorithm prioritized desktop pages that loaded faster—meaning the better your page speed, the more likely your page would rank higher on a list of search results. With this new change, page speed will now be a ranking factor for mobile searches.
While the relevancy of search results and the value of information on a page is still crucial, a fast-loading mobile site can only help your SEO ranking. Follow our tips below for how to optimize your mobile page speed and get started on your own updates.
Evaluate your page speed
Start by measuring the performance of your website’s top pages. Google has a PageSpeed Insights tool where you can input a URL, and it will tell you how well that page is performing, along with tips for what you can improve and optimize. The current average load time on mobile is 10 or more seconds for the full page and up to 7 seconds for above-the-fold content. What does this mean for your traffic? Well, if load time jumps from 1 second up to 5 seconds, the probability of bounce increases 90 percent. Find out how your top pages are performing, and go from there.
Streamline your content
Once you’ve figured out which pages need to be optimized, start with above-the-fold content. While all of the content on your page affects load time, the speed of above-the-fold content can help reduce bounce rates. Ensure those elements are clear and concise; the more elements on your page, the lower your probability of conversion will be. When it comes to both SEO ranking, traffic, and conversion, less is more. Focus on the quality of your content, rather than the quantity. For more ideas on how to add valuable content to your WordPress site, see our post on How to Brainstorm Content for Your Business Blog.
Here are Google’s recommendations for optimizing your mobile site:
- Page Weight: The total size of a page measured in bytes. Most sites are around 1 to 2 MB, but under 500 KB is ideal for faster load times.
- Request Count: The number of pieces of content needed to display your page. The average ranges from 70 to 120 pieces, however best practice is less than 50 per page.
- Speed Index: How quickly your page displays content to users. Average is around 10 seconds, but best practice is under 3 seconds.
Optimize your images
One of the easiest and most impactful things you can do to help your mobile page speed is optimize your images. If you’re looking to be under the ideal page size of 500 KB, that means your images need to be resized accordingly. If you have a mobile-responsive site, it will scale the images to fit a mobile screen, however the page still loads the original file size—potentially slowing your page speed.
You’ll want to ensure your images retain clarity and quality, while being the minimum size possible for ideal page speed. If you’re using Photoshop or a similar image editing software, there’s often a setting for “export to web,” which will offer a recommended lower size option where you can choose the level of image quality. For more info on adding images to your WordPress site correctly, see our guide with 3 Ways to Add Images to a Blog Post in WordPress.
Share with us in the comments below how you’ve optimized your mobile site for SEO and page speed. Still looking to optimize your SEO? See our post on 5 Plugins to Improve Your SEO WordPress Game.