Google wants smartphone sites to download under one second

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Google is aware that the traffic from mobile devices is increasing when users are searching online with them. At the same time, users are demanding a smooth and fast mobile experience online. Google knows that a faster web is better for both users and businesses – faster pages lead to better user experience and improved conversions.

Google is taking steps to help users get this fast and smooth mobile experience by releasing new Guidelines for and a new PageSpeed Insights tool to help webmasters optimize their mobile pages for best rendering performance.

Load mobile pages under one second? It is possible to decrease the load time? Google says yes it is and is offering advice in the new Guidelines for webmasters. One of the most important factors to achieve this is by prioritize above-the-fold content.

Based on Google Site Speed Data we know that today an average mobile page downloads for more than 7 seconds . The data indicate that today mobile pages are loading faster, but Google wants situation to improve much, much more.

Google Page load timeResearch by Nielsen Norman Group shows that users’ flow is interrupted if pages take longer than one second to load. To deliver the best experience and keep the visitor engaged, The Google guidelines focus on rendering some content, known as the above-the-fold content, to users in one second (or less!) while the rest of the page continues to load and render in the background. The above-the-fold HTML, CSS, and JS is known as the critical rendering path.

Google believes that sub-second rendering of the above-the-fold content on mobile networks is achievable by applying the following best practices:

  • Server must render the response (< 200 ms)
  • Number of redirects should be minimized
  • Number of roundtrips to first render should be minimized
  • Avoid external blocking JavaScript and CSS in above-the-fold content
  • Reserve time for browser layout and rendering (200 ms)
  • Optimize JavaScript execution and rendering time

These are explained in more details in the Google mobile-specific help pages.

Google is inviting webmasters to test their web pages and the improvements they make using the PageSpeed Insights tool. A faster mobile experience is good for all of us. Let’s see how this works out.