The modern consumer’s need for speed and the importance of image size for SEO

22.08.2018

If you have looked at your Google Analytics recently you might have noticed that the majority of your website visitors are coming to your site via a mobile device. So what can you do to make sure that once mobile users arrive at your website, they stick around?

It turns out the best thing you can do to retain visitors is to ensure your website loads quickly. Mobile users are often on the go or taking a break from scrolling through their social media feeds to find a product, service or answer to a query – and they want that answer fast.

You’ve got three seconds – mobile users don’t like waiting!

Data collected by Google shows that if a landing page takes three seconds to load, 53% of mobile users will bounce – leave your site – and, in my opinion, will most likely try one of your competitors instead. With the average load time for websites on mobile being more than five seconds on a 4G connection, the chances are most websites are missing out on potential customers due to poor load times.

But the data doesn’t stop there. An intriguing study carried out by Ericsson ConsumerLab found that “the level of stress caused by mobile delays was comparable to watching a horror movie” and that during longer load times a mobile user’s heart rate rose by up to 38%. This means that even if they stick around and wait for your website to load, the probability of the user being in the right frame of mind to carry out a desired action, like complete a purchase or give you a call, is unlikely because you’ve already annoyed them. And that’s before they’ve even had a chance to find out who you are or what you do!

Google’s data also shows that images make up 63% of the total page weight, so if your images are too large, chances are they are the reason for your website’s poor mobile performance. After all, you can have the best images on the internet on your website, but if they don’t load quickly no one is going to see them.

How to make your website load quickly on mobile

When it comes to obtaining a faster mobile load speed for your website it’s all about reducing the file size of your images, making sure you’re using the correct format and giving your images consistent dimensions. When it comes to having the smallest image file size possible while still retaining quality, the JPG and PNG formats are a safe bet.

However, we absolutely recommend you compress all the images that go into your site if they are over or around 200 kilobytes in size. If you have Photoshop this is easily done using the ‘Save for Web function’, but Goop Digital also frequently uses a range of free tools that make image compression and resizing quick and easy. These tools include TinyPNG and Picmonkey, but there are many more out there if you search for them; most are free but you might need to create an account first.

Mobile load times impact Google rankings

Google has announced that it will consider mobile load times a ranking factor as the search engine giant continues to prioritise user experience. This means that if the images on your website are not optimised for mobile your website could slip down the Google rankings for important keywords.

If any images on your site are one megabyte or – horror – larger, chances are you’re losing potential leads and customers using mobile devices. If you want a mobile-friendly website that ranks highly in Google search results and gets customers to your website before they lose their patience, contact the team at Goop Digital.