Mobile speed optimisation – UK Housing Market

In our latest white paper on the UK Housing Market, we explore how the search for property begins online with a significant 98% of buyers turning to digital in hope of finding a new home.

From the moment a vendor begins their search online they have a lot to take into consideration, so it just makes sense if you can help their journey go as smoothly as possible when they’re visiting your website.

Google’s mobile page speed update

Earlier this year, Google announced the new mobile page speed algorithm update (due in July 2018). Businesses online can expect to see a drop in traffic if their site is not optimised for those browsing on their smartphones.

page speed will be a ranking factor for mobile searches

In a recent blog post, we explore how your website speed on mobile will affect search rankings. With an estimated 50% of online visitors accessing your web pages via mobile (some even reaching up to 75/80%, depending on the demographics), it’s more important than ever to make sure your company website is optimised to load quickly on the devices used primarily by your target audience.

By nature, we’re impatient – so why waste time waiting for a site that’s not loading properly?

Not only will a mobile first, speedy website improve your search rankings, potential vendors can have a much better experience browsing your page content which in turn can help improve brand loyalty.

Optimising your page content

Page content allows you to provide answers to the needs of potential vendors as part of their path to purchase, accessing them on key touch points of their journey to help inform their purchasing decisions. Fast loading and quality content that resonates with your target audience is a valuable marketing technique which can help build brand trust so you can play a key role in your customers’ decision making. For example, fast loading property images will help alleviate a short attention span for a user browsing online.

As part of their search for housing, using relevant and targeted keywords on your website pages can increase the chances of your content appearing higher on the search results page. Page content addressing a users search query on the costs of moving can put them at ease with any concerns about agency fees adding up – they’re looking for transparency and honest answers.

How often your brand appears and provides helpful information as part of a vendors search query can help strengthen your brand positioning. Offering the answers and reassurance they are looking for can increase their loyalty to your brand and are therefore more likely to turn to your business for your services.

Optimising your page content is just one way of increasing your page speed. As a helpful comparison, we’ve delved into some of the most popular UK housing websites to check their performance and see how prepared they are for the algorithm change.

Rightmove

It’s no surprise, one of the nation’s favourite property sites, Rightmove, has a top performing website, ranking 81/100 for mobile speed optimisation.

 

Source Google PageSpeed Insights

To improve this, Google suggests optimising images by compressing them so they load faster. Google also suggests prioritising visible content. This refers to a process called ‘inlining’, which we explain in more detail in our blog post on How To Use And Interpret Google’s PageSpeed Insights.

In short, it means Rightmove would benefit by minifying their resources and restructuring the HTML to prioritise any above-the-fold content first (any content that appears in the top half of a webpage and is immediately visible as the page loads).

Zoopla

 

Source Google PageSpeed Insights

Surprisingly, Zoopla falls far behind Rightmove, scoring only 50/100 for speed efficiency. Similarly, Zoopla would benefit by reducing the time it takes to render their HTML so content can load faster. The site could also improve browser caching to reduce the amount of time it takes to load for repeat visitors.

Purplebricks

 

Source Google PageSpeed Insights

Purplebricks comes in second place out of our property search sites, scoring medium at 75/100 for mobile optimisation. Different to image compression, Google suggests enabling compression. This means speeding up the process from the moment you hit a website, your browser sends a message to the server where your website is hosted, signalling to transfer a lot of data so it can display on your screen.

Taylor Wimpey

As for housebuilders, Taylor Wimpey’s website runs fast with some improvements to make, optimising for mobile. Although their images are compressed, amongst Google’s recommends, Taylor Wimpey could optimise their site by leveraging browser caching and reducing the server response time – the slower your server responds, it could prevent you from ranking higher in the SERPs.

 

Source Google PageSpeed Insights

Redrow

Redrow has some room for improvement, scoring 65/100 and an average site speed result on mobile. Redrow has scored lower compared to one of their competitors, with the server response time as low as 0.74 seconds (compared to 0.36 for Taylor Wimpey).

 

Source Google PageSpeed Insights

It just goes to show how making these changes can have a significant impact on your website performance. Looking into these recommendations could really enhance the user experience on your site and how quickly they can take in information to help influence their purchasing decisions.

Take a look at our blog post for a list of tools which can help analyse your website for performance.

For a better understanding of how your website compares with top brands, check out the following blog posts to see how you measure up:

If you’d like more information on how to optimise your site, don’t hesitate to contact us for a more detailed explanation.

Written by Hollie Hines

Content & Social Media Specialist

Follow Hollie on Twitter