On Wednesday 17 January 2018 Google revealed that it will now be using page speed as a ranking factor for mobile searches from July 2018. Although speed has been used in ranking for some time, that signal was focused on desktop searches not mobile.
Google have referred to this as the “Speed Update” and 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.
“We encourage developers to think broadly how about performance affects a user’s experience of their page and to consider a variety of user experience metrics,” said Google in an online post.
Although there is no tool that directly indicates whether a page is affected by this new ranking factor, here are some resources that can be used to evaluate a page’s performance:
- 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.