Google Speed Update Coming Soon
Google has announced that from July 2018, mobile page speed ranking will form part of mobile search results. The new ranking algorithm was announced on 17th January and has been dubbed the “Speed Update” by staff at the Big G.
Slowest Pages Targeted in Algorithm Update
In a press statement, Google reiterated that the change will only affect the pages that “deliver the slowest experience to users”.
There is obviously sufficient time to prepare for the changes and their impact on the mobile SERPS between now and the July start date. Google has been advising developers to use tools such as Lighthouse, or Google’s own, free in-house tool – the newly updated PageSpeed report – to check on the page speeds and make improvements before the changes are implemented.
Google’s Zhiheng Wang and Doantam Phan wrote that:
“The Speed Update 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. A slow page may still rank highly if it has great, relevant content.”
No Notifications in Search Console
Google has pointed out that this will be a completely algorithmic change, and not notification will show in the Search Console. The change will also be applied to AMP pages. Although AMP is designed to provide quality pages on mobile, if the page is slow to load, it will still be subject to being downgraded in the SERP’s result if the page performs poorly.
Page speed has been part of the search algorithm on desktops since 2010, however, the lower data rates and slower processing speeds typically found in mobile devices have made this an issue for many years. It’s surprising to see that Google took so long to add this to its ranking toolbox. The new tool on mobile will not bring changes to the desktop version of Google.