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The Internet Will Never Be the Same

Yesterday, the Internet changed: Google has implemented its long awaited algorithm changes to search results. From now on, websites that appear in the search results will be evaluated and ranked on a new data point: mobile friendliness.

google-mobile-update.png
 
We have been blogging about how the world is becoming an increasingly mobile place, and that it will continue to be even more so. We've gone so far to consider that perhaps people should no longer consider mobile as a separate category. Many organizations have responded by adopting strategies to align with their customers or end-users' mobile lifestyles. For those who have been procrastinating, the pressure to change and adapt to mobile user has drastically increased today.  If you do not have a mobile friendly site, not only your customers will abandon your site due to sub-standard performance, but Google will penalize you with your site's search rankings.
 
If you are one of the few organizations who have still yet to cater to your mobile users, your business will suffer. Fear not, however, you do have options. If you work with a content delivery network (CDN) vendor, such as Akamai, you can work with them to help ensure your business is well suited for mobile audiences.  These solutions will help optimize website performance on a per-user and per-device basis.

In addition, you should use Responsive Web Design (RWD) principles when developing your sites. Sites employing RWD operate on a single code base and render content based on end-user's device characteristics, presenting them with an optimized and consistent experience across all browsers and devices. This is what the Google algorithm is looking at when they apply the label "mobile-friendly."
 
That said, RWD is not easy and only solves part of the problem. If not implemented properly, RWD can significantly impact performance and page load speed due to over-downloading. Why? Though there is an operational benefit to having a single code base, it also means that mobile devices download the entire page code and then adjust the way its presented based on the respective device capabilities. Without proper RWD implementation, you may end up getting better rankings on Google searches for mobile friendliness, but end up frustrating end users and increasing abandonment rate. It's also important to keep in mind that Google is testing a "slow" label for search results. Soon enough, being mobile-friendly won't  be enough, your site will have to perform above certain standards (that Google has yet to make public) or risk getting tagged with the "slow" label. 
 
So, what can you do? Work with web performance professionals to ensure your site is: 

1) Optimized to deliver consistent experiences across devices and
2) Fast enough to meet users rising performance expectations

One particular area of focus to help optimize web sites for mobile is images.  Akamai has created a reporting tool that can give you quick and easy insight into how well your site is optimized for the delivery of images to mobile devices. You can request a full Performance Insights report here.

In the new mobile world, delivering consistent, high performing experiences isn't just an option, it's a necessity. 

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Berk Veral is Senior Product Marketing Manager at Akamai

Internet Penetration in Q4 2014

Every day, Akamai services approximately two trillion requests for web content, giving us unique insight into Internet penetration around the globe. In the fourth quarter of 2014, around 803 million unique IPv4 addresses from 239 countries or regions connected to the Akamai Intelligent PlatformTM. This represents annual growth of more than 2.5 percent from the fourth quarter of 2013.

Internet Disruptions in Q4 2014

Internet disruptions are still a frustrating reality in many regions across the globe. The most common types of disruptions generally fall into three categories: accidental (backhoes or ship anchors severing buried fiber), natural (hurricanes, earthquakes), or political (government shutdowns in response to protest). As a provider of customer content across the globe, Akamai is in a unique position to monitor traffic levels in each country or region. The following events are highlights of global disruptions that affected traffic levels across the fourth quarter of 2014.
The Internet connectivity in the U.S. showed strong positive growth in the fourth quarter of 2014, as shown by Akamai's Internet connectivity metrics. These metrics include: average connection speed, average peak connection speed, broadband adoption, high broadband adoption, and 4K readiness. For additional insight into the metrics, refer to the State of the Internet Metrics: What Do They Mean? blog post.

Mobile Browser Usage in Q4 2014

In June 2012, Akamai launched the Akamai Internet Observatory (IO), which highlights browser usage across desktop and other connected devices. The data presented in the Fourth Quarter, 2014 State of the Internet Report and this post are derived from the Akamai IO site.

The Q4 2014 State of the Internet Report will be available for download on March 25. In the meantime, here are some of the highlights from the report.

Security
Across the fourth quarter, Akamai observed attack traffic originating from nearly 200 unique countries/regions. Of these, China and the United States remained the top two sources. Port 23 remained the most targeted port for attacks during the fourth quarter -- continuing the trend of the previous two quarters. Additionally, Akamai recorded a rise in DDoS attacks.

Third Quarter Internet Disruptions

Internet disruptions are still a frustrating reality in many regions across the globe. The most common types of disruptions generally fall into three categories: accidental (backhoes or ship anchors severing buried fiber), natural (hurricanes, earthquakes, etc.) or political (government-driven shutdowns in response to protests). Akamai is in a unique position to monitor each country or region's traffic levels for the consumption of content from Akamai customers. The following events are highlights of global disruptions that affected traffic levels in the third quarter of 2014.

Third Quarter Situational Performance

In June 2013, Akamai announced the latest release of Ion. Ion is a solution that's designed to meet the unique challenges of optimizing the desktop and mobile web experiences. One feature of Ion is a capability known as Real User Monitoring (RUM). RUM takes performance measurements from real web users to provide developers with insights into performance across a multitude of devices and networks. Ideally, RUM is used in tandem with synthetic testing to generate a comprehensive picture of a user's web experience to help developers best calibrate their applications.

The smartphone market is a two-horse race between two of the biggest names in technology - Apple (iOS) and Google (Android). One way to track their relative operating system market penetration is via mobile browser usage.

Despite Android's tremendous operating system market share (81.5 percent in 2014, according to IDC), Apple cemented its leadership in mobile browser usage in the third quarter of 2014. To measure browser usage, Akamai tracked the number of cellular specific and total network connections from Apple's default iOS web browser, mobile Safari, and Android's stock Webkit browser.

With HTTP/2, Akamai Introduces Next Gen Web

In early 2012 something remarkable happened: a call went out for proposals for a new version of HTTP. From the perspective of an Internet whose warp and weft seemingly shift on a daily basis, this may appear to be just one change amongst many, but because of the importance of HTTP in our daily lives, its impact is difficult to overstate. If you are reading this, it is likely your current job and livelihood would not exist without HTTP. And now, with this call for proposals, the community was about to start work to change and improve that venerable protocol.
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