If someone tells you that one mobile SEO technology is superior and faster than the other, they are most likely promoting or trying to sell something. If not, then they don’t understand mobile as well as you thought.
This article will describe and discuss mobile and page speed without any bias. This is for you to make a clear, informed decision without being influenced by another party.
The best way to make mobile content fast is to have a deep understanding of how it attracts users. This article will show you how each mobile technology works and will point out where one method can exceed the other when it comes to displaying content faster.
The two types of mobile SEO content
There are two types of mobile SEO content: (1) the same content as the desktop page, and, (2) different content than the desktop page.
When we talk about the same content as the desktop version, we mean:
- Both desktop and mobile SEO page load the same HTML file
- Both desktop and mobile SEO page will display the same images
When it comes to different content than the desktop version, it means:
- Different HTLM files are downloaded for different devices (e.g. example.html and example-mobile.html) This could also mean that these files have different content
- Different image sizes are displayed. The desktop version will display “big-image.png” and the mobile SEO version will display “small-image.png”
- There are also instances where there are certain contents that are only available on mobile pages and not on the desktop version
Mobile SEO Page Speed: The Truth
There are two truths that every designer and developer must know:
One, if you are loading the same content on the same web server and use each of the three methods (responsive web design, dynamic content, and mobile URLs), the responsive content is most likely the fastest out of the three. This is a proven fact.
Two, if you are loading different content to the mobile SEO version and to the desktop version, it is possible to send smaller, which in turn, faster content using the methods of dynamic content and mobile URLs.
Now, let’s break down the two statements and explain how the three methods deliver the content.
This is how responsive design delivers mobile content:
User request a page – page is given to the user
This is how dynamic content delivers mobile content:
User requests for a page – web server detection takes place – mobile content is give to the user
This is how mobile URLs deliver mobile content:
User requests for a page – web server detection takes place – web server instructs phone to go to another URL – phone request for the new URL – mobile content is given to the user
Mobile Page Speed: The Bottomline
When it comes to loading the same content:
- Responsive doesn’t have any additional steps. It is, after all, just HTML and CSS. This is the fastest out of the three for this circumstance.
- The dynamic content method requires one additional step before giving the user the content. This additional step is browser detection by the server.
- Out of the three, mobile URLs have the most steps before ultimately delivering the content. These additional steps are browser detection and redirection. Redirection itself also has a few additional steps nested within and is the most costly process when we talk about page speed.
To remember: The more additional steps, the longer the page load time.
When it comes to loading different content:
- Dynamic content is the fastest. One prime example is:
The scenario is comparing two webpages, displaying a page on a mobile phone. One is using dynamic content while the other is using responsive web design. Remember, the responsive web design shows the exact same page and elements in both mobile and desktop versions. This includes larger image files.
In this scenario, dynamic content can load small images with smaller file sizes but, responsive web design has to load the original image and file size as its desktop version. Since it will be displaying larger images, responsive web design is obviously slower than the other method.
This instance is proof that there will be times where dynamic content is faster, just for being more lightweight and can cater tailored elements specifically for mobile users.
Tip! The most effective and proven way to have a faster mobile load page is to first and foremost, optimize your content for speed.
To remember: A slow desktop website = to a slower mobile website
Officially, Google highly recommends that designers and developers use responsive web design. However, this does not mean that they do not support the other methods mentioned.