We are well into the mobile age now, some 60% of search traffic comes from mobile devices, and some experts predict this could rise to as high as 80% over the next 3 years – mobile website performance has never been more important.
When building responsive websites it is really important to build mobile first, yet we still see new websites being released where the mobile performance has not been considered. Having a mobile friendly, responsive website is not all you need to do to meet Google’s criteria for mobile usability, the site does have to perform well too! Building mobile first ensures that the mobile version is kept as light-weight as possible, rather than building desktop first where the mobile version can be very heavy due to code being present, but not being used. The mobile first methodology focusses on design for mobile in the first instance (lean, accessible etc) and then adding in features as the screen size increases (animation, horizontal menu’s etc). The more accessible the site (which includes engagement metrics) the better the search engines will rank it, in like for like trust profiles.
Google have recently launched (June 2016) a mobile friendly testing tool, we launched ours over a year ago! The tool checks mobile readiness of a website. Mobile is not going to go away and if you want to ensure that the growing number mobile searchers can find your website then it should be mobile ready. If you need a new website to be able to do this then it should be built to be mobile first.