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Page Speed Will Soon Become A Ranking Factor In Mobile Search

Google has recently announced that, starting from July 2018, mobile page speed will become a ranking factor for mobile search results.  Site speed is already a ranking factor for desktop results.

The search giant said that the update is going to only affect pages that “deliver the slowest experience to users” & will only affect a small percentage of queries.

Sites that’re very slow will be ranked down accordingly, however it’s not yet clear whether sites that are extremely fast will get a rankings boost.

The same standards is going to be applied to all pages, regardless of the technology that underlies them. Further, a slow pages with excellent, highly relevant content will still be ranking highly.

Google called upon the development community for considering how performance of a site can impact the user’s experience, & it highlighted several user experience metrics for making assessments.

The company has been increasingly prioritizing page speeds for some time.

Evaluation Resources

There is no single tool that will be able to predict whether a page is going to be affected by the change. However, there are some resources available that developers will be able to use for testing speed, Google noted, including the following:

Lighthouse, an automated tool & part of the Chrome Developer tools; &

The Chrome User Experience Report, a public dataset of key user experience metrics;

PageSpeed Insights, a tool that indicates how  a page performs on the Chrome UX Report & offers performance optimizations.

“This a logical conclusion for the Accelerated Mobile Page (AMP) Project that Google launched in 2016,” said Charles King, principal analyst at Pund-IT.

“The point of that effort was to speed Web browsing processes, and download results for mobile device users with a mechanism Google created for predicting what sites a user would visit, and then preloading site data into cache,” he told the E-Commerce Times.

“The thing is that it only works on sites that have adopted AMP, so it isn’t what you’d call a universal panacea for mobile browsing or poor browsing performance,” King added.

Need for Speed

Ranking mobile sites by speed should have been done long ago, considering that mobile searches have already surpassed desktop searches.

“Google has used page speed as a desktop search ranking factor, and it was long anticipated that it would be a mobile factor,” said Greg Sterling, vice president of the Local Search Association.

“Google is trying to maintain and grow engagement with mobile search, where its revenue growth is happening,” he told the E-Commerce Times.

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