Will Google Deem Your Mutual Fund, ETF Website Fast Enough For Mobile Users?

If your work involves being visible on the Internet, then there’s no debating Google’s dominance over what you do. On the bright side: If Google is an overlord, at least it’s an overlord that communicates.

For example, Google recently confirmed the importance it will be placing on the speed of a Website accessed by a mobile device. According to Search Engine Land’s coverage of a recent conference, Google will be adding a ranking factor to mobile search results based on the site speed of your mobile Web pages. “Outlier sites that load really slowly will see a demotion of the search results,” although no specifics about minimum speed expectations have been made public yet.

Time To Make Site Speed A Priority

Site speed has been on the checklist for asset managers to monitor for at least a few years. But in 2013, given the impending Google search penalty and considering that target audiences (financial advisors and investors) are confirmed mobile device users, mobile site speed needs to jump up as a priority for digital teams.

The table below shows how the home pages (mostly) of the 20 largest mutual fund and exchange-traded fund (ETF) firms do in Google’s PageSpeed Insights test. PageSpeed Insights is the site that Google uses to communicate to developers about how to make sites faster.

I ran scores for all sites shown in the table on Sunday and then repeated the test on Monday. Different scores were produced for a few sites from Sunday to Monday but the differences were never more than a few points plus or minus. PageSpeed Insights' desktop scores are provided here as a basis for comparison.

According to Google, “PageSpeed Score indicates how much faster a page could be. A high score indicates little room for improvement, while a lower score indicates more room for improvement.” The test fetches a site's contents (HTML, JavaScript, CSS, images, etc.) live, using a webkit-based renderer. Results from this analysis or something similar will ostensibly influence Google's judgment of your site for mobile users.

Congratulations to BlackRock, whose iShares.com and BlackRock.com, top the list for scores. Overall, this group of asset managers has an average mobile site score of 50 points on a 100-point scale.

It’s unknown at what score Google would apply a search penalty.

Check out the PageSpeed Insights site yourself to see not just the scores but also the recommendations of what needs to be addressed for your site. Across the board, the greatest concentration of problems are found in the "Minimize the payload" category. Most sites have redirect issues, and almost all need to optimize the use of images.

For more information, see the PageSpeed Insights Frequently Asked Questions. Even more detail can be found in this Tech Republic post from January.