December 16, 2013
Within the webmaster community there has been considerable debate lately, regarding the importance and impact of mobile website speed, and moreover the role it plays in determining a website's overall score and page rank. On one end, there are those who swear that it makes no difference whatsoever how fast one's mobile site is, while others continue to argue that it makes all the difference, while forcing developers to split urls and compromise their SEO.
Of course, there's more to it than just these two common verbal feuds. To settle the issue once and for all, let's take a no-frills look at how mobile site speed can impact your overall site rank, and what you need to do to remain search engine and SEO-friendly. Below is a screen shot of a website that I have been tracking since 2008. As you can see by the line chart, it clearly shows the growth in visits coming from mobile & tablet device.
Familiarize Yourself with Responsive Design Techniques
When a user arrives at your site, via mobile or desktop browser, responsive design allows the application to open seamlessly, regardless of which device they used to arrive there. The technology automatically responds to their specific system parameters, by adjusting page and display settings, auto-scaling and resizing images, compressing or enhancing DPI ratios and making other adjustments needed to present a clear, trouble-free viewing experience.
By Google's own admission, responsive design is a safe and effective technique that can be used for building fast-loading sites, with no negative impact on SEO or page score. If you're new to all of this and need a more simplistic, yet effective, way to increase mobile website speeds, setting up a mobile redirect can work just as well.
Using Mobile Redirects to Increase Page Load Speed
Another savvy way to preserve your good page rank while boosting mobile speed, is to set up a mobile redirect. The most common involves automatically redirecting mobile visitors to your primary url, though it can work the other way too if you're actively promoting your mobile site, or running a mobile-based ad campaign. This allows you to keep everything conveniently located on a single url, without the worry of having your page rank being divvied up between two separate addresses.
Mobile Speed: Going Pro or Do it Yourself?
Well, this depends… do you write code for a living? We kid of course, but if you're not familiar with the basic and semi-intricate tenets of mobile site technology, you will definitely want to call a webmaster or developer for their expertise in the area. The last thing any of us want is to inadvertently undo years of editing and updating and optimizing, simply because we were unsure of how to properly redirect a mobile site.
One of the advantages of working with a developer who genuinely understands mobile optimization, is that in addition to properly setting up your mobile website, they will also be able to look at other SEO practices you have in place, while making sure that nothing essential has been overlooked.
Mobile websites and technology are unquestionably here to stay, and there's no way to argue the role they are already playing in how we live. If you're in an industry that is becoming increasingly dependent upon mobile search technology, don’t wait until it's too late and you've been out-optimized by one of your competitors.