A few days ago, Google announced the introduction of an enhanced PageSpeed Insights tool to aid website owners in optimizing the loading speed of their pages. It now turns out that publishers may need to use the enhanced tool a lot more than expected. In a recent announcement, Google finally revealed an important factor that will be used to rank mobile pages and its all about loading speed.
Starting in July 2018, Google will make changes to the way it prioritizes mobile pages in search ranking results. Called the “Speed Update,” the company will be giving more importance to the page speed in ranking search results.
— Search Engine Land (@sengineland) January 18, 2018
Of course, page speed will not be the only factor used to determine the ranking of mobile pages. There will be times where even slower loading pages will still be ranked higher, as long as it still contains the most relevant content relative to the search query. In fact, Google said that the change will only affect a small percentage of total mobile queries.
“The ‘Speed Update,’ as we’re calling it, will only affect pages that deliver the slowest experience to users and will only affect a small percentage of queries,” Google’s Zhiheng Wang and Doantam Phan explained. “It applies the same standard to all pages, regardless of the technology used to build the page. The intent of the search query is still a very strong signal, so a slow page may still rank highly if it has great, relevant content.”
In February 2016, Google gave the indication that loading speed would matter in search query results ranking by highlighting pages using AMP (Accelerated Mobile Page) technology. By April of last year, Google News started giving priority to news articles published on AMP sites.
Of course, Google’s end goal is to give a better experience for mobile users of its search engine. At the moment, it’s not yet clear if the same algorithm change will be adapted to desktop users as well.[Featured image via Flickr]