As of today, page speed is now a ranking factor for mobile searches.
Google is calling this the “Speed Update,” and has officially announced that it is now rolling out worldwide.
The Speed Update, which enables page speed in mobile search ranking📱, is now rolling out for all users!
More details on Webmaster Central 👉 https://t.co/fF40GJZik0
— Google Webmasters (@googlewmc) July 9, 2018
Plenty of notice was given about the Speed Update prior to today’s rollout, with Google announcing in January that it would be rolled out in July.
Now the Speed Update is here — right on time.
Previously, page speed was only a ranking factor in desktop searches.
While fast, mobile-optimized sites were always a recommendation, speed was never a full fledged ranking factor in mobile search results.
Now the speed at which a piece of content loads is a consideration when ranking mobile pages. Obviously, the faster the better.
That’s the most important thing for SEOs and site owners to know about this update.
It’s also worth noting that Google has said this update will only affect the slowest of mobile sites.
What that means is — if a site is already lighting fast, but a competitor’s site is a tenth of a second faster, it’s unlikely that will make a difference in the long run.
Shaving a few microseconds off of an already fast site will not lead to a ranking improvement.
The Speed Update will only affect sites that are noticeably slow. Meaning — a user has to wait several seconds or more for the content to load on a mobile device.
One last thing to note is that this update will not prevent slow loading mobile sites from ranking altogether.
Relevancy is key, as Google always says. So if a slow loading page happens to contain the most relevant content, according to a user’s query, then it may still rank favourably in search results.