Google has always been interested in ensuring that Web users get the best possible experience. Its Googlebots crawl the Internet and search for data to populate its index. It’s from this index that search results rankings are established, using Google’s algorithm.
The full details of the algorithm are something of a mystery but what is certain is that the mobile user experience has become more of a focus for Google in recent years. This is hardly surprising given that more people now access the Internet using a mobile device than so do using a desktop. Given that this is the case, it makes sense for any business to utilise any help or support from Google in order to optimise their rankings potential, as well as improving the user experience of their mobile web presence as much as possible.
The background to Google’s new mobile effectiveness tools
Th real surge in Google’s concentration on mobile effectiveness came with Mobilegeddon, back in 2015. This was the introduction of the new mobile-friendly algorithm which took account of a website’s mobile-friendly features when determining rankings in search results. This has been followed by Google’s current experimentation with the mobile first index.
It’s not certain what the results of the current testing will be, but it’s possible that there will be only one mobile focused Google index in the future. Given this background, it makes sense for Google to provide tools with which businesses can measure the effectiveness of their mobile web presence.
Introduction of the new tools
Google announced the availability of its new mobile benchmarking tools at the Mobile World Congress which took place in Barcelona from 26 February – 1 March 2018. The Mobile Scorecard and Conversion Impact Calculator are aimed at helping businesses to see how the load time of their mobile site can have an effect on customer experience and sales.
Data from the Chrome User Experience Report has been used to feed into Google’s Mobile Scorecard, in order to provide information on the load speed of thousands of different sites in twelve countries across the globe. Using this information helps businesses to see how they perform in comparison to their competitors.
It’s worth remembering that Google recommends a maximum page load time of five seconds for a 3G connection and three seconds for a 4G connection when a mid-range device is being used. Load times outside of this range can deter potential customers from accessing a site. This, in turn can reduce sales and revenue. It’s to help put these financial considerations into context that Google has created the second new tool.
Conversion Impact Calculator
This calculator has been designed to show businesses how much conversion revenue they could be losing by having a mobile website with a slow load speed. The calculator uses data from the The State of Online Retail Performance Report, from April 2017, to show that a slow loading mobile site can reduce conversions by as much as 20%. This is a significant reduction in conversions for any business.
In order to use the calculator, to check the potential monetary effects of slow load speed on them, businesses need to input the following data:
• The average number of website visitors monthly.
• The average monthly conversion rate.
• The average monthly order value.
It’s easy for business to access the Mobile Scorecard and Conversion Impact Calculator, in order to monitor how they are performing when it comes to the load speed of their mobile website and see how this performance is affecting their revenue.
Of course, it’s not just load speed that needs to be addressed when a business is considering the affectiveness of its mobile web presence. Other factors, such as ease with which content can be read and ease of navigation are also important. It’s also important for businesses to make sure that the content contained on their mobile website is the same as that contained on their desktop site. This is why Google recommends the use of responsive web design. This consideration is going to be even more important if the mobile first index is fully rolled out. If this happens, the mobile website of a business will be the first port of call for Google when it determines its search engine rankings. Content and load speed will both be taken into account and tools such as the Mobile Scorecard and the Conversion Impact Calculator will continue to be valuable.