The Speed Update will only affect pages that deliver the slowest experience to users and will only affect a small percentage of queries.
Google has announced that Page Speed will become a ranking factor on mobile search. Imaginatively called the "Speed Update", it will affect pages that deliver the slowest experience to users.
The update is set to go live in July 2018, so webmasters have plenty of time to make changes to their pages. To help with this, Google has supplied a list of tools to help:
- Chrome User Experience Report, a public dataset of key user experience metrics for popular destinations on the web, as experienced by Chrome users under real-world conditions
- Lighthouse, an automated tool and a part of Chrome Developer Tools for auditing the quality (performance, accessibility, and more) of web pages
- PageSpeed Insights, a tool that indicates how well a page performs on the Chrome UX Report and suggests performance optimizations
Page Speed has been a ranking factor for desktop searches since 2010, but this new update is the first move by Google into using Page Speed to determine ranking positions on mobile search results pages.
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. 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.
So, although page speed will become a ranking factor, Google is saying it is not a strong a signal as others and slow pages can still rank well if they have other strong signals such as highly relevant content.
The Speed Update is not necessarily a death knell for slow websites in mobile search, but it is recommended that you start to think about speeding up your pages as soon as possible before the update rolls out in July.
About the Author
Luke Glassford is an SEO expert with over 15 years’ experience.
During his time working in SEO, Luke has set-up an SEO agency, worked as an in-house SEO for a major national company and managed his own successful SEO consultancy - using a lot of different SEO tools along the way!