A new way to check how Google scores your website

If you want your website to be loved by Google, a fast loading mobile-friendly website is essential.

Google has released a new tool for website owners which clearly reinforces Google’s mobile-first focus.  Rather than being a new tool per se, this tool elegantly combines a couple of long-standing tools Google’s provided website owners to test their sites: the Mobile-Friendly  and PageSpeed Insights tools.

  • The PageSpeed Insights tool provides mobile and desktop speed scores, plus a score for mobile user experience.  Specific advice is provided to help you improve these scores.
  • The Mobile-Friendly Test doesn’t give a score but simply advises if a page is mobile-friendly, or not. If it isn’t, then Google gives some advice on how to improve the page and make it mobile-friendly.

The new tool (which you can find here) is a combination of the above and provides some extra information (a mobile-friendliness score out of 100). The real benefit of the tool however is how this information is presented. The design is impressively slick (great job, Google!), and the explanations given are all in user-friendly plain English, rather than mind-numbing techno-babble.

Google's new webpage testing tool

As with the other tools, details on what to fix and how to do this are provided. In addition, a report with technical details can be emailed to you which you can then share with your developer.

And if you’re wondering how important this stuff is, or need to convince your boss to take action, specific reasons are given for why this stuff matters. Such as:

  • People are five times more likely to leave a mobile site that isn’t mobile-friendly.
  • Nearly half of all visitors will leave a mobile site if the pages don’t load within 3 seconds.

This is a really useful tool and one you you should check-out.

Why should you care?

As mentioned earlier, Google has a mobile-first focus these days and is increasingly weighting search results in favour of websites that are mobile-friendly and fast loading.

A point worth noting is that Google’s mobile-friendly algorithm page-load speed assessment is currently based on the speed of the desktop version of a page — not the mobile version. This means that if the mobile version of your website is really slow it won’t hurt your mobile rankings provided the desktop version of your website is fast.

I agree, it’s not logical. But that’s going to change soon.

At the recent Search Marketing Summit in Sydney Google advised it will soon be updating the mobile-friendly algorithm and the page speed ranking factor will be changed to specifically look at the page speed of mobile pages. This means that if you currently have a slow mobile site you should fix it ASAP or you may find its rankings in mobile search results will drop, along with associated traffic and conversions.

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About the Author Mark Sceats

Mark is a Partner and Senior Consultant at SureFire which he founded back in 2002. Prior to establishing SureFire he worked for KPMG Consulting. Today Mark heads up SEO, embracing the challenges that can come with complex website implementations. Outside of work, his interests beyond his family are running, snowsports, diving and fishing (badly).

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