There are many factors that affect how well a website ranks in search results. Google is continually updating how they rank websites and which factors they take into account. A recent update means that the page speed of a website on mobile devices is now one of the important factors that will affect a website’s ranking.
The speed of a website has influenced how well it performs in search results for a while. However, as the use of mobile search grows, Google is placing more importance on the performance of websites on mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets.
Google has been preparing for this update since the beginning of the year, and has now begun rolling it out everywhere. One important thing to note is that Google says this update will affect only a small percentage of websites. It’s designed to affect the slowest websites on the internet, which should mean that most sites escape without consequence. Google updates can sometimes be worrying because, in the past, some websites have taken big hits to their rankings. However, this latest update is much less likely to have a significant effect on most sites.
This new Speed Update algorithm doesn’t affect desktop searches. Its focus is on mobile searches and mobile speed for websites. While they haven’t given an exact number, Google says that “a small percentage” of sites will be affected. However, those sites that are affected won’t be notified. People might notice a drop in performance for their sites, but there’s no tool or warning notifying you if your site has been affected. However, there are plenty of tools you can use to check the speed of your website.
Although Google use algorithms to rank websites, it’s based on user experience. Google have made these changes by considering what people want from a website. Speaking to Search Engine Land, they said that developers need to consider a variety of user experience metrics when making site improvements. Another thing to note is that AMP (accelerated mobile pages) won’t necessarily automatically rank above other pages. An AMP page could still potentially deliver a slower experience to the user, which will affect how it appears in search results.
Although Google won’t say exactly how they judge the speed of a page, they have made some helpful suggestions. They say that you should take a look at the Chrome User Experience report, which provides some useful user experience metrics to help guide you. Google also suggests using Lighthouse, a developer tool for assessing the quality of web pages, as well as PageSpeed Insights, which shows how a page performs on Chrome UX Report and suggests performance optimizations.
Before this update, page speed was only important in desktop searches. The new changes reflect the growth of mobile search, which is becoming ever more popular and taking over desktop search. Sites that already deliver a fast performance are unlikely to improve their rankings by becoming a tiny bit faster.