Google IconHow fast does your website load on mobile devices? Under five seconds? If you said yes to the second question, you are probably pretty happy with your answer. What about under one second? Probably not. But that is how fast Google says sites should load, according to their newest guidelines for mobile phones.

Before you start freaking out at the suggestion their site is supposed to load in under a second, it should be clear that Google isn’t mandating an insane guideline. They don’t actually expect most websites to completely load that quickly. Instead, they are focusing on the “above the fold” content. They think users should be able to get started playing with your page quickly, while the rest can progressively load.

It is probably a wise insight, considering most mobile users say they are more likely to leave a site the longer it takes to load. On smartphones, every second really counts, and if you can get the above the fold content loaded within a second, most users will be happy to wait for the rest of the content while they start exploring.

The update reads:

“…the whole page doesn’t have to render within this budget, instead, we must deliver and render the above the fold (ATF) content in under one second, which allows the user to begin interacting with the page as soon as possible. Then, while the user is interpreting the first page of contents, the rest of the page can be delivered progressively in the background.”

To match with the new guidelines, Google also updated its PageSpeed Insights Tool to focus more on mobile scoring and suggestions over the desktop scoring. They also updated scoring and ranking criteria to reflect the guideline changes.