Struggling to keep up with the changing mobile landscape? Do you feel like if you just had the resources of say, a Fortune 100 company, you'd be more equipped to optimize your website for a mobile audience? Perhaps you should reconsider. A new report shows that despite the sizable budgets and big brand names of these companies, very few have aligned their mobile websites alongside mobile marketing best practices.
Faster Than the Speed of Mobile?
In its report "Mobile Experience Scorecard: Fortune 100 Companies," The Search Agency examined how some of the largest, most well-recognized companies are adapting to the new mobile landscape via Google’s best practices. They analyzed each company's website via a mobile platform and evaluated based on both quantitative factors established by industry best practices and Google, and qualitative factors determined by their team of mobile experts.
Recently, Google revamped its guidelines for mobile site load speeds. They recommend that mobile sites load in under 1 second to avoid interrupting the user’s flow. In order to achieve this, Google says that companies should focus on the following:
- Server must render the response (< 200 ms)
- Minimize the number of redirects
- Minimize the number of roundtrips to first render
- Reserve time for browser layout and rendering (200 ms)
Out of a possible five points – one being the lowest and a score of five being the highest possible – each of the Fortune 100’s mobile sites were scored on five factors:
- load speed
- site format
- calculated download speed
- social media presence
- app presence
The results were not good. Not one company achieved a perfect score and the average score was 2.31.
Where Did the Fortune 100 Go Wrong?
Websites simply weren't responsive. Literally.
Even though responsive web design is all the rage and it's included as a Google best practice for serving the same HTML across devices, the top 20 sites that ranked the highest on the mobile scorecard used dedicated mobile sites rather than responsive design.
In fact, of the 100 sites, only nine overall used responsive design, while 47 used a dedicated mobile site, and 44 did not provide a separate mobile experience from the desktop version of their site.
As a result, sites weren't optimized to consolidate traffic link value to the original version of the site and affected over all load times. The average page load time was about 5 seconds, well above Google’s one-second recommendation.
What Can We Learn From This?
Stop assuming that being ranked among the Fortune 100 means you're doing everything right. Businesses of all sizes need to consider how best to cater their sites to a growing mobile audience. Subsequently, you may not need a huge budget to get it done.
Further more, if you don't have a dedicated mobile app to redirect customers to, businesses may want to consider implementing responsive design. Not only does it help to maintain a consistent design, RWD allows you to have a single, dynamic site which allows traffic, authority, and link value to be consolidated to one site and easily sorted, tracked, and measured through popular Analytics packages.
At the very least, companies can increase load times by optimizing navigation with touch-friendly buttons and links; segmenting pages with granularity; using breadcrumbs, filters, and jump links to improve user experience, and; using large fields to help users more easily see and fill in questionnaires, which can affect completion rate and mitigate errors.
Ultimately, this report shows us that no one is immune from mobile. While the Fortune 100 companies may have more revenue than the rest of us, if they choose to ignore their mobile presence for too much longer, they find themselves replaced by those who didn't.