Page speed has been one of Google’s over 200 ranking signals for nearly 10 years now, but it only became an acknowledged factor for mobile ranking in 2018. With that update, (the Page Speed Update), it became crucial for businesses to provide a fast web experience across the board. No matter what people are doing online, they want, (and now expect), it to happen quickly. And if it doesn’t, they’ll often just abandon the site, and move on.
Although mobile page speed has been increasing, Google has revealed that the majority of mobile sites still take 15 seconds to load, and given that more than 50% of mobile site visitors leave if the page takes longer than 3 seconds to load, 15 seconds is clearly still too long.
Increasing Mobile Traffic
With mobile traffic having exceeded desktop traffic for the first time in 2016, and as of the last released stats, having bypassed the 53% mark, it’s clear that catering to mobile traffic is an essential strategy for doing well online.
What’s really interesting to note though, is that although mobile traffic (visits) has increased, mobile conversion rates are still lower than their desktop counterparts.
Now, partially this is because people frequently use their mobile devices to research, but they usually make the actual purchases etc. on their desktops. But another possibility here is simply that mobile sites are not as well optimised for conversions as desktop sites are.
Speed Vs Bounce Rate
Google also found that, (with a 90% accuracy rate), bounce rate from mobile sites is affected by load time as follows:
If your page load time goes from 1 second to 3 seconds, the probability of a visitor bouncing (leaving the page without performing any action) increases by 32%.
If load time goes from 1 second to 5 seconds, the probability increase by 90% and one extra second on top of that (6 seconds), increases it by 106%. If your load time goes to 10 seconds, the chance of a bounce is increased by 123%.
Page weight refers to the number and size of the different elements on the page. How many images, titles, how much text, etc. And Google has found that having a lean (low weight) page with only the most necessary elements will also reduce your chances of bouncing.
According to their test, as the number of elements on a page goes from 400 to 6,000, the probability of a conversion drops by up to 95%
On mobile pages, both speed and size make a big difference. Below, you’ll see some best practice times to aim for:
Industry Best Practices
Average Speed Index
This is how quickly your mobile page displays content to users, and you should be aiming for 3 seconds or less.
Average Time To First Byte
How fast and responsive the mobile web server is, which translates into how quickly the server starts sending data in response to a request (visit). You should be looking for 1.3 Seconds or less.
Average Request Count
The number of individual pieces of content that need to be downloaded in order for the entire page to display. The fewer requests there are, the faster the page will be, and as such, you should strive to limit this to fewer than 50 requests.
Average Page Weight
The total size of the web page, measured as the sum of the size of each individual element. The size of your page should always be less than 500kb.