None of the most visited print news and media sites evaluated for their mobile experience passed Google's recommended five-second Web site load time, and only 56% of the sites provide social media buttons on their home page to share the news. While the sites are not prepared to serve content to readers on mobile devices, about 30% were built with responsive Web design (RWD) in mind, which
The Search Agency report analyzes the top 50 news and media Web sites to determine the ones that best align with mobile marketing best practices. The Mobile Experience Scorecard includes a User Experience Scorecard, which measures a series of different user experience features on mobile; and a SEO Ranking Scorecard, which reviews technical SEO elements of mobile sites.
Of the 50 news and media sites scored, 40% serve dedicated mobile sites, 30% served sites with Responsive Web Design, 22% served dynamic mobile sites, and the remaining 8% serve the desktop versions of their Web site on mobile devices.
For the User Experience Scorecard, The Search Agency calculated a total score out of a possible five points -- a score of zero being the lowest and a score of five being the highest possible -- for each of the sites. The average score was 1.7 out of 5 for load time, Web site format, social markup, social media buttons, search-bar functions, app advertisement, and sign-in capability.
The SEO Ranking Scorecard also awarded a possible five points, where Web sites were evaluated on architecture best practices such as large page size, missing meta descriptions, missing title tag information, and click depth. Of the sites the spider crawled, 89% were missing meta descriptions. The absence of a meta description will not necessarily directly affect where the page ranks in the results page, and it undermines user experience and click-through rate, which in turn impacts rankings, per the report.
Of the sites the spider crawled, 51% showed large page-size warnings, indicating that more than half the sites that could be crawled showed pages with source code larger than 250,000. These page-size issues most likely contribute to why The Search Agency's page speed test proved so difficult for Web sites to pass. The content takes longer to load, increasing the overall load time of the Web site and user bounce rates.
Of the sites evaluated, The Guardian received the highest score at 2.5. Time took 2.3; The New York Post, 2.3; Rolling Stone, 2.3; and Tell Me Now, 2.25, which rounded out the top five. The Christian Post at 0.7; Mental Floss, 0.7; and Sports Illustrated at 0.6 ranked as the bottom three.