Did you know that only about 30% of small business websites are currently mobile-friendly? That means that about 70% of the small business owners out there need to do something about that right away. Mobile-friendliness has always been an important part of SEO. This is why Google switched to mobile-first indexing a few years ago. That’s when most small business owners should have ensured that their mobile site performance was good. But that clearly didn’t happen.
If you didn’t fix your mobile site then, you are definitely going to want to do so now. Google’s Core Web Vitals update is due to roll out sometime in mid-2021. In the meantime, you may have to do a few dozen complex things to improve your site speedand experience.
Here’s why this update could blindside 70% of the small business sites on the web.
Google’s Core Web Vitals: Mobile is More Than Mandatory
Google has announced that this latest update will be a big one. In fact, the sheer act of Google announcing anything makes it a big deal. They make a few thousand changes every year, and most of them happen quietly in the background. When Google goes public with a major change, you can bet that it will be a major change.
The Core Web Vitals update will focus on the following mobile site performance ranking factors:
- Intrusive interstitials guidelines
Pay special attention to those first two.
In today’s digital marketplace, your site needs to do far more than just “work” on a mobile device. You can’t simply have your desktop site compressed onto a smaller screen and hope that your visitors don’t mind pinching and zooming. They do mind. And they will leave your site as soon as they see the layout.
Being mobile-friendly means that your site needs to look and function perfectly on any mobile device.
Are your visitors greeted with an interstitial ad when they arrive at your site? Does that ad take up most of their screen and prevent them from doing anything? Users hate that, and so does Google.
Your Mobile Site Needs to Be Good and Fast
Yes, you need responsive design and mobile-friendliness, but not at the expense of your site’s load speed.
Load speeds have always been a key part of how your site performs and ranks. But the Core Web Vitals update will focus on more than just your load speed.
You’re now going to have to pay attention to 3 new mobile site performance metrics:
- Largest Contentful Paint (LCP): How long does it take your site to fully load?
- First Input Delay (FID): How quickly can the user click something?
- Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS): How long until the layout of the page stops shifting?
These metrics help you get a much better idea of what your mobile users are experiencing. Are they frustrated because a non-compressed image is slowing the entire page down? Do they have to tap the same button repeatedly waiting for the whole page to load? Are they frequently clicking on the wrong link/button because of last-second layout shifts?
How Do I Fix These Issues?
If your site was built and launched in the last 3 years, it is very likely mobile-friendly. But you should still run it through this test to make sure that everything checks out.
If your site is a bit older, it’s more likely to have mobile issues. If that’s the case, you may want to work with a designer to see how you can fix that. It’s hard to say whether or not that fix will be less expensive and time-consuming than building a new site, but it is possible you can work with what you have.
If you’re having mobile site performance speed issues, oh boy, we don’t know where to start. We could write 50 blogs about the most common causes of slow website speeds. You could be dealing with anything from too much coding on the front end, to bad hosting on the back end, and a few hundred other things in between.
The important thing is that you start looking for any problems and exploring the solutions right now. Don’t wait for your SEO rankings and traffic numbers to drop off, or for your competition’s numbers to rise.
Take action today! The update won’t be here until mid-2021, but these fixes can help you right now.