Google: Mobile Page Speed Now a Ranking Factor
January 17, 2018 | Contributed by: Greg Sterling
It has been rumored and anticipated for a long time. Now it’s here: mobile page speed is a formal ranking factor. Google made the announcement earlier today, pointing out that speed has long been a desktop ranking variable.
Here’s what the company said on its Webmaster Central Blog:
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. It applies the same standard to all pages, regardless of the technology used to build the page. The intent of the search query is still a very strong signal, so a slow page may still rank highly if it has great, relevant content.
Google added, “Although there is no tool that directly indicates whether a page is affected by this new ranking factor, here are some resources that can be used to evaluate a page’s performance”:
Google has not said anything about AMP and whether pages built in AMP will get a boost. In the past the company has explicitly said AMP is not a ranking factor. But at that time it also was not using speed as a mobile ranking factor either. Still it’s unlikely to favor AMP pages per se.
Late last year, ahead of expectations, Google began to roll out its “mobile-first” index. It won’t be fully implemented until probably later this year, given that it’s rolling out very slowly. But that will ultimately become Google’s principal index.
Undoubtedly many poorly built, non-mobile friendly SMB websites will be impacted by the new variable.