screenshot of mobile first comparison between mobile and desktop speed

Last year, Google changed its algorithms to be "mobile first," which means they use the mobile version of your site to determine how worthy it is of ranking well. That's because, as you can imagine, most searches are done on mobile devices.

"But," you might say, "most of our prospects and clients are looking at our site on their desktop computers, because we have high-end products (or services)." And while that might be true,  Google is still viewing the mobile version of your website to determine how good it is.

But it's Google's world, and we're just living in it, so you HAVE to look at your website from Google's mobile first perspective.

You can  use "Google's PageSpeed Insights," to determine how quickly your website loads on a mobile device, because load speed is a ranking factor. Of course, it's not the only ranking factor, but it's certainly one big factor that you can control.

Some websites rate very poorly when viewed as "mobile first."

As an example, we'll use Pulte Homes' website. They're a national builder, with presumably, a big marketing budget. Certainly a good budget to put towards their website. We'll start by showing their homepage:

screenshot_of_Pulte_Homes_website

And here's the mobile version of their website:

screenshot of Pulte Homes mobile website

Here are the ratings Google PageSpeed Insights gives their mobile site, and their desktop site. This is the kind of difference we see all the time.

screenshot of comparison between Pulte's mobile and desktop websites

However, what's most amazing about these results, is that a company the size of Pulte has such incredibly low scores for BOTH their desktop and mobile websites. We can honestly say we've never seen a ranking of 8 for a mobile site. So it's fair to say, Pulte Homes isn't taking the "mobile first" approach seriously.

How to take the mobile first concept seriously.

Using our website as another example, here is the desktop version of our homepage:

screen shot of the sevell.com desktop homepage

And here is the mobile version of our homepage:

sevell homepage using the mobile first approach

And here are Google PageSpeed Insights' ratings for our mobile and  desktop sites.

screenshot of comparison between Sevells mobile and desktop speedWhat did we do to  make the mobile version of our website score so well? Two of the big things we did were:

  • We reformatted the homepage for mobile and reduced the number of images, and
  • We saved the images as smaller file sizes called WebP images.

Test the mobile version of your site for free.

If you want  your website to play well with Google, you must take "mobile first" seriously. To do that, go to Google PageSpeed Insights, put in your domain name and prepare to be surprised.