Facebook penalizes businesses for poor mobile website experiences

Facebook announces algorithm update that'll penalize slow-loading websites.

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% 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:

  1. Minimize landing page redirects, plugins, and link shorteners
  2. Compress files to decrease mobile rendering time
  3. Improve server response time by utilizing multi region hosting
  4. Remove render-blocking javascript
  5. Use a high-quality content delivery network to reach your audience quickly
  6. Remove redundant data that does not impact how the page is processed by the browser
  7. Optimize images to reduce file size without diminishing visual quality
  8. Reduce the size of above the fold content to prioritize visual content
  9. Use asynchronous scripts to streamline page render time
  10. Dynamically adjust the content for slower connections/devices

We’ve put together our own recommendations for how to improve your page load speed along with tips on how to accomplish these tasks. We’re here to help so if you need more tips or help speeding up your site give us a call at 800.926.2451 or contact us for personalized advice about your website.

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