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Adapting to a Mobile World: 2019 Mobile Page Speed Insights with Google Lighthouse and Why You Should Care

Maintaining a high-speed website has never been an easy topic but it’s an increasingly important factor.  It’s 2019 and for most businesses, especially e-commerce, well over half of your customers are usually browsing on their mobile device or tablet.  In today’s world most people are on the move, looking for a new restaurant to try after work, or maybe a fresh new pair of kicks. This means people are browsing your site, likely on slower, crowded city WiFi or cellular network.

Acknowledging this we need to change how we test site speed.  To do this we use Google Lighthouse, the same tool used by google’s page speed insights. 

Why not just use page speed insights?

Page speed insights is a great tool when you’re in a rush or testing desktop speeds.  Unfortunately, it can be slightly misleading on the mobile scores. It’s running the same lighthouse scan as you’ll see in your browser, however, it’s run on google’s server in a perfect environment.

Google Lighthouse Throttle config

To test for a more realistic mobile speed score all you’ll need is Google Chrome on your computer with your site open to test.

Right-click on the page and click ‘inspect’ to open up the developer tools.  Then click on ‘audits’ to get to the lighthouse. Then all you have to do is enable throttling as in the image above and you’ll have a fairly realistic idea of how your mobile speed is, and how big of a difference it actually makes (it’s huge).

To demonstrate this let’s take a look at the New York Times site:

Without mobile simulation (high-speed WiFi at the office): lighthouse report without mobile simulation

With Mobile 3G Simulation: lighthouse report with mobile simulation


Let’s Compare

The mobile speed simulation has made quite the difference.

First Contentful Paint: increased by 1,900% (1.8sr)

Speed index: Increased by 1,560% (7.3s)

Time to interactive (how long till the user can actually do anything on the site): Increased by 613% (22.6s)

Why does this matter?

You can be the first hit on google, but if your users leave before they can even interact with your site, it’s not likely to convert.  While various studies on this have touted a variety of results, it unanimously concluded that speed has a highly significant impact on bounce rate and conversions.  Don’t just take my word for it, the charts below are from a study done in 2015 by Google and Akamai (source).

The Bottom Line

Optimizing Site Speed can be a difficult and tedious task.  But it simply cannot be ignored, doing so is effectively kneecapping your own business.  Based on the stats above, if your site takes longer than 6 seconds your going to lose over half your users before they can even click ‘add to cart’ (or whatever your call to action is).

Don’t let your business be hindered by poor performance and SEO.   Leave it to the pros at Boston Web Marketing and contact us for a free consultation.

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