Google has announced that, starting July 2018, page speed will become a ranking factor in mobile search. Speed has been used as a ranking signal for desktop search since 2010– this marks the first time it will be used to rank pages on mobile.
This is being called the “Speed Update,” and it will target only the slowest loading pages. What that means exactly is anyone’s guess, as Google says there is no tool that will determine whether a page is affected by this algorithm update.
Instead, Google offers the following advice:
”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.”
As important as speed will become, Google says it can be superseded by query intent. A slow page may still rank well if it’s content is highly relevant to what the user is searching for.
This is not a complete death knell for slow pages in mobile search, but it will certainly help to optimize your page speed as much as possible before the update rolls out.
A good starting point is to test your pages using Google PageSpeed Insights, which was recently updated to deliver results based on real-world data.