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Realities of Google PageSpeed Insights for Business Leaders

Matrixforce Desktop

If you haven’t tried Google PageSpeed Insights, then you should type in your website and see the results. Don’t be alarmed by the Google Developer logo. You’re more than capable of understanding the A – F scale and you can then put your technical people on a mission. Whatever your impression of your website, there are two major aspects that affect your search ranking and conversion:

  1. User experience
  2. Speed

The rhetoric of “content is king” trails by a wide margin. While the Builtwith Mobile Report currently shows just 66% of the Internet is mobile responsive, that trend is accelerating quickly from less than 20% in 2014.

You can no longer have the billboard or brochure mindset for your website. A business must be easily found on the web with convenient features and provide a fresh and innovative offering. The forklift approach of doing a “refresh” every few years is no longer viable either, as you’ll always be a laggard with customers and regularly destroy any previous search rankings.

Regardless, you should know your current status and how to interpret the feedback. User experience is the easiest thing to understand and rate for mobile. On the other hand, speed is measured in milliseconds and common sense must be applied to overly stringent tests.

Mobile User Experience

Matrixforce MobileIf your website is not mobile responsive, then User Experience is terrible and displayed first. You’re basically telling visitors that you are 20 years behind just from first impressions. Then they get bored or frustrated from zooming, scrolling, and resizing every page of your website.

Traditional websites require an entire re-write. If your site has illegible fonts or uses a plugin to fake mobile features, then start over. Simply adding a mobile website such as “m.yourcompany.com” is costly and detrimental with double development costs and search penalties for duplicate content. A custom App is also not a replacement for a mobile website for the same reasons, plus inconveniences of device incompatibility and the time to download and update for customers.

If your website’s mobile user experience is not rated in the 90’s, then you are at a serious disadvantage.

It’s possible to score 100% for mobile user experience. However, very minor details will lower the score slightly. For instance, our Matrixforce website displays a Twitter feed that Google considers too small to easily tap the links. Also, the footer is errantly reported as too wide versus other tools. For these reasons, the Matrixforce mobile user experience is 93%. The only way to improve the score is by removing the Twitter feed (which is used for real-time updates) or reworking the footer with little return.

Low to mid 90’s seem to be the average for sites that implement mobile responsiveness properly. Occasionally, you’ll notice sites with 99% rating with the score reduced for appropriate tap size – mainly because Google practically expects any button or link to be isolated on a page. Typically, utility sites having few things on the home page like Twitter or Google will have a 100% rating for mobile user experience.

Mobile Speed

By far, the toughest characteristic of your website to improve is mobile speed. While there are ten major areas tested with instructions on how to fix, the reality is that some recommendations may not be feasible and the “fixes” reference only basic HTML. For instance, eliminating render-blocking CSS code is generally not possible. Cascading Style Sheet code must run first to determine the screen size and format subsequent output. If you have popular .Net or WordPress sites, then you’re stuck finding obscure settings to improve site speed. Other criteria must be configured by web hosts, who are traditionally behind and often unwilling to support global settings that may affect other customers. Finally, achieving passing results for mobile speed tests is nearly impossible.

After speed optimization improvements, most mobile responsive sites will only achieve high 40’s or low 50’s for speed rating.

Try testing Google.com and you’ll see only a 78 out of 100 rating.  Matrixforce currently hovers around a 48 out of 100 rating. Again, it’s not possible for managed services first bootstrap website to display properly without determining screen size first. We are working on optimizing graphics further that will definitely help speed. Plus, wrangling continues with our web host concerning compression settings.

Business Realities of Google PageSpeed

Pundits are quick to point out that most sites don’t fix the common things hurting search ranking. For sure, you must have a mobile responsive website today to give a better impression. Furthermore, you need a better pitch and superior approach versus your competition. Test your website today. Then test prominent websites in your industry and your competitors. You’ll get a sense of how you stack up and where you need to improve. More importantly, it might start you thinking on what more you should be doing for customers.

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