Now That You Have a Mobile Site, Is It Fast Enough?

Google launched Accelerated Mobile Pages last week – a format for mobile webpages that reduces load time dramatically.  In pages I tested, load times were less than a second and sometimes virtually instantaneous.  This reflects a trend that might impact local businesses as much in the near future as mobile does today.  We may soon reach a tipping point where a site optimized for mobile is not enough for local businesses to remain competitive – it also will have to be lightning fast.

Consumers already demand a speedy web experience with 40% abandoning a site that takes more than 3 seconds to load. Yet the median load time for the top 100 mobile retail sites was over 5 seconds.  And contrary to perception, those sites have been getting slower each year since 2013.  The problem is demand for data heavy content such as graphics and video.

AMP reflects a solution offered by Google to reverse course.  Others are following suit – Facebook will release its Instant Articles to all publishers in April that likewise promotes load speed.  And there is evidence that load speed will become or may already be a ranking factor for SEO.

All in all, it’s worth taking a look at ways for local businesses to improve the speed at which their mobile webpages load.  Even though these newer formats are being utilized by larger publishers now, consumers will quickly demand a similar user experience from local business websites and turn away from those that don’t meet their expectations.

By adopting some best practices now for optimizing load speed, local businesses can also further the distance from those competitors who don’t have a mobile site, a significant portion, or those whose sites take too long to view.

Check out a full analysis of the state of mobile webpages for local businesses in my Search Engine Land column for this month: The Need for Speed: 7 Observations On the Impact of Page Speed to the Future of Local Mobile Search.

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