Facebook penalizes businesses for poor mobile website experiences
Facebook announced another New Feed algorithm update last week that will prioritize mobile-optimized websites. It will reward links that load faster on mobile by giving them higher visibility and limit users’ exposure to slow-loading links. “Particularly slow” pages will see decreased referral traffic, according to Facebook.
Facebook users’ network connection will also be considered.
“We’ve heard from people that it’s frustrating to click on a link that leads to a slow-loading webpage,” the announcement read. “In fact, even more broadly on the internet, we’ve found that when people have to wait for a site to load for too long, they abandon what they were clicking on all together. As many as 40 percent of website visitors abandon a site after three seconds of delay.”
This behavior has influenced other Facebook developments, such as Instant Articles and Canvas, and has been a factor in previous iterations of the algorithm. (Sarah Perez of TechCrunch speculates that the update may boost the performance of Instant Articles — or at least protect their reach from taking a hit.) A mobile-first mindset has also spurred Apple News and AMP, an HTML framework backed by Google that’s aimed at making mobile pages load faster.
As mobile continues to take up a larger share of user traffic, it serves Facebook to harp on user experience. Slow-loading destinations create friction for the user, which reflects poorly on Facebook and could deter users from turning to the social behemoth for content.
Will this mobile-first Facebook update affect your Page?
According to Facebook’s Q4 2016 earnings report, 94 percent of their 1.86 billion monthly active users access the site via mobile. So, you no longer have an excuse not to focus on mobile speed and responsiveness.
Facebook categorizing a website as “particularly slow,” though, is subjective, so it’s impossible to say just how much of an impact this update could have. That said, you should take a closer look at your website as these changes roll out over the coming months. If your mobile site is not optimized, then you should expect your reach to decline and your ads to become more expensive.
Facebook releases a list of best practices for improving mobile site performance.
So, what can you do to ensure your website is up to snuff? In addition to the company’s announcement, Facebook also released a list of 10 recommendations. They are as follows:
- Minimize landing page redirects, plugins, and link shorteners
- Compress files to decrease mobile rendering time
- Improve server response time by utilizing multi region hosting
- Use a high-quality content delivery network to reach your audience quickly
- Remove redundant data that does not impact how the page is processed by the browser
- Optimize images to reduce file size without diminishing visual quality
- Reduce the size of above the fold content to prioritize visual content
- Use asynchronous scripts to streamline page render time
- Dynamically adjust the content for slower connections/devices
Use these tools to test and improve your website performance.
Here at Moving Targets, site speed and responsiveness is a top priority for our web development team to ensure our clients’ sites excel at converting prospects. Read on for recommendations for the best tools, plugins and resources from two of our web specialists:
Marguerite Hulett, Web Development Director
- Pingdom Website Speed Test: Pingdom’s free website speed test analyzes the load speed of your site and offers performance insights.
- W3 Total Cache: W3 Total Cache helps you increase overall site performance and reduce download times through features like browser caching and minifying assets.
- All in One WP Security: All in One WP Security & Firewall will take your website security to a new level. From database backups to protecting your PHP code, the plugin reduces your website’s security risks.
Amanda Seale, Organic Content Specialist
- WooRank: WooRank is an SEO auditing tool that evaluates your website’s technical, on-page and off-page SEO. It also helps break down usability factors, such as mobile rendering and speed.
- Yoast: Yoast is a top-ranking SEO plugin for WordPress that goes beyond choosing keywords. It optimizes your technical configurations and helps increase your readers’ engagement.
- All in One SEO Pack: AIOSEO is an alternative to Yoast that helps you optimize your site’s SEO and supports Google AMP.