So, Google has a shiny, new mobile-friendly site tool. What does this mean? Is your site going to be graded differently? Can it ever live up to sites like Apple, Moz, or even the mighty Google itself? Do you immediately need to run out and have your web developer take a hammer and nails to your website? The answer is most likely no to all of these questions (unless your website still isn’t mobile-friendly in the year 2016, then you should probably revisit question 3).
Google took two of their tools that have already existed for some time: PageSpeed Insights and the Mobile Friendly Test, which just got a makeover last month. Google’s new “Think With Google” website speed test tool combines these two useful tools into one sleek, sexy, animated and engaging tool that can be helpful, IF you don’t get stuck on the fact that your website probably has poor mobile speed.
Yes, Your Website Probably Has Poor Mobile Speed
Now, I know what you’re thinking. “Kelly, you have not done enough research to support the claim that every website except Google.com has poor mobile speed according to Google.com.” You are right, reader, I have not. I am 100% sure that there are websites out there (besides Google’s) that have “fair” (I’m looking at you, Netflix. You go, Netflix.) or even “good” mobile site speed, but they seem to be few and far between. I tested a handful of generally reputable websites, and Google pretty much gave them all a big, fat, red F when it comes to mobile site speed:
**Big props to Facebook and Moz on that Desktop speed.**
Boy, Google is one tough grader. But like a parent who “only wants what’s best for you,” I truly believe that it is out of love that Google grades us so harshly.
It’s All Going to Be A-Ok
The good news is that with this shiny “new” tool, nothing has really changed. Go ahead — pop those URLs into PageSpeed Insights or the Mobile Friendly Test and you’ll see that the numbers more or less match up. Google is trying to make it simpler for you to gather insight about your website in one easy-to-use, modern place. Whether you take the numbers and run screaming or decide to make proper use of them instead, the choice is completely up to you.
Google wants you to have a mobile-friendly website, so much so that they have added this as a factor in their search-ranking criteria steadily over time. If you haven’t jumped on the responsive bandwagon by now, it’s high-time that you do, my friend, or you could be facing the next Mobilegeddon. But being “mobile friendly” isn’t just about having a responsive website. Below is a list of some of Google’s tips for ensuring that your website meets its mobile-friendly standards:
- Size tap targets appropriately
- Avoid app install institials that hide content
- Avoid plugins
- Configure the viewport
- Size content to viewport
- Use legible font sizes
- So many more things…
If you don’t know what all of those things are, it’s OK. We can help. Shameless plug.
You’ll see — with the examples above and with many of your own examples, I’m sure — that you can have a bright *thumbs up emoji* *100 emoji* *fire emoji* for mobile friendliness but not make the cut with mobile site speed, or perhaps even desktop site speed. These are things to work on and constantly improve, but they should not have you up in arms.
Don’t Just Sweep It Under the Rug
To make a long blog short, your website is probably not going to get a gold star for Google’s elusive definition of “good mobile site speed” tomorrow. If the folks at Facebook, Amazon, Moz, or Apple can’t pass, we should feel pretty comfortable where we stand. But don’t just brush your score off, either. Listen to what Google is telling you. Take note of the improvements you can make (for example, the list at the right), and start from there.
Google’s new “Think With” speed test tool is pretty, it’s engaging, and if you use it right, it can be pretty darn useful. But don’t let it scare you, either. If you take something away from this post, it should be this: Your customers and clients are the ones that your website should be built for, and your customers and clients live in a world where they’re on the go more than ever. Your website shouldn’t make their lives more difficult, so listen to Google as much as you can without running away, sad-Michael-Jordan crying.
This tool is clearly still relatively new and we
hope expect there will be improvements in the future, but we aren’t getting our panties in a bunch just yet. Overall, Google is trying to be a good parent and raise well-rounded, thoughtful children. It may frustrate you with its criticism and harsh punishments, but in the end, it only wants what’s best for us.