2014: the mobile SEO timebomb

Over the last four months, Google has been ramping up its publicity of a more aggressive target for mobile site performance: sub one second page load times.

Enforcement of this aspiration comes from Google’s usual source: algorithmic rewards for sites achieving this goal. You just need to look at how industry commentary has exploded around site speed issues over the last couple of years to see the impact this strategy has had.

I fully expect to see this industry focus switch to mobile-specific commentary through 2014.

Let’s take a look at the evidence, and the SEO opportunity…

Consumers may not care about 4G LTE, but it’s good news for publishers and retailers

When it comes to technology, the answer to the question “How fast do you want to go?” is often “How fast can we go?” From processors to internet connections, so long as the price is right, faster is generally better as far as consumers are concerned.

So it’s somewhat surprising that a survey of 3,000 consumers in the U.S. conducted by investment firm Piper Jaffray found tepid demand for next-generation 4G LTE network technology.

Tablet, mobile users expect pages to load within seconds: report

Building a performant website that delivers a quality experience to the rapidly growing number of consumers surfing the web on mobile and tablet devices may often be a challenging task, but that doesn’t mean that users are willing to cut companies any slack.

In fact, tablet users expect websites to load in under three seconds, and smartphone users only slightly more patient with a four second expectation.

The need for online speed in America

Americans need instant gratification more than ever if you look at their online habits. 

Google found that slowing search results by just 4/10ths of a second would reduce the number of searches by eight million a day and one in four people abandon a web page that takes more than four seconds to load.

This need for speed is not only affecting how we consume the web or buy online, but it’s reaching into what we eat, how we date and even how long we can stand being in line.

The importance of speed for mobile commerce

It’s not enough to just have a mobile optimised website, it’s vital that its performance meets customer expectations. 

Speed (or lack of) kills conversions on the web, and it’s no different for mobile.

In fact, with differing performance levels by device, and variable mobile internet connections, it’s even more important to keep mobile sites light. 

Here is some great advice taken from our Mobile Websites and Apps Optimisation Best Practice Guide, authored by Belron’s Craig Sullivan….