Leslie Norgren

How Slow Can You Go? A Look at Mobile Page Speed

(Image courtesy of Flickr user PhilCampbell)

(Image courtesy of Flickr user PhilCampbell)

Earlier this month at SMX Advanced, Google’s Matt Cutts suggested that mobile site speed might be an upcoming ranking factor. Pairing these potential updates with the fact that 62% of Americans use their mobile devices to view websites and search daily, it is now more important than ever to consider a smartphone user’s experience on your site.

It takes on average seven seconds for a page to load on mobile devices (0.6 seconds is lost just connecting to a site from a mobile device, and another 0.6 seconds for every redirect a user must go through). On the flip side, consider that it takes only about one second for a user to become distracted.

Using a random sampling of websites that have full mobile experiences to those that are not optimizing for mobile devices and those loading interstitials, 90octane took a look at how website companies type impacted bounce rate and also how load time impacted time on the site.

Average Time on Site Based on Mobile Load Time

Average Time on Site Based on Mobile Load Time

As one might assume, sites with the quickest load times had the longest visitor time on site.

Bounce Rate by Site Type

Bounce Rate by Site Type

Surprisingly, bounce rate was the lowest for sites still utilizing an interstitial that directed users to download an app or choose between the mobile and desktop experience. Given Google’s recent stance on faulty mobile redirects, interstitials should be carefully considered as they do pose a disruption to a user’s navigation path.

It is also important to note that first impressions are key with mobile traffic. An earlier study on mobile latency showed that website visitors are unlikely to return after a poor experience with mobile site speed.

To strengthen your mobile site performance and improve load speed, consider the following best practices:

  • Reconsider the value of “Download Our App” interstitials, as they require extra clicks.
  • Only include content that mobile devices are capable of displaying.
  • Ensure that above-the-fold content on your mobile website loads in under 1 second to keep user engagement high.
  • Unblock resources such as CSS that are robots.txt disallowed.
  • Correct redirect issues where desktop pages redirect mobile users to irrelevant pages.

With a few adjustments and considerations, you can start to improve your mobile load time and user engagement, and avoid negative implications for organic visibility.

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One comment

  1. Thanks for this article Leslie – i’ll be subscribing to this blog!
    Best
    Simon

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