Published: Sat, January 20, 2018
Science | By Eileen Rhodes

Page speed will affect mobile search rankings starting this summer

Page speed will affect mobile search rankings starting this summer

If you do a Google search on your smartphone, pages that take forever to load might not show up anywhere near the top of the results.

"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 has been pushing faster websites in Search for a long while now.

Although page speed is already used in rankings, it was focused on desktop searches. One example of that is the company's controversial Accelerate Mobile Pages (AMP) project, which places sites with AMP support in front of everyone else on search.

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Developers are encouraged to think broadly about how performance affects a user's experience of their page and to consider a variety of user experience metrics. The "Speed Update" is only using the page speed signal to measure and look for the "slowest" experiences. For sites that are not in the Chrome User Experience Report data set, we recommend using Lighthouse to evaluate the performance of a page.

As important as speed will become, Google says it can be superseded by query intent. Considering that Google is unrivaled in its power to control how web users find internet content, any change to its method of ranking search results is a key concern for mobile advertisers and publishers.

The update will apply the same speed criteria to all pages, regardless of the technology used to build them, our sister site ZDNet said. As a result of the change, slower websites may see links to their pages relegated to the bottom of the page starting in July of this year.

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