Google Will Use Page Speed as a Ranking Factor for Google Search on Mobile in July 2018
Google understands the importance of web page loading times — slow websites ruin the user experience. That’s why speed factors into how well websites rank in Google Search on the desktop, and the search giant says they’ll become a ranking factor in the mobile version of Google Search later this year.
The changes will go into effect July 2018 with what the company is calling the Speed Update. It’ll only impact pages that deliver the “slowest experience” to users, Google says, and only affect a small overall percentage of queries. For the most part, the average mobile Google Search user probably won’t notice a difference. But if you’ve ever had the experience of clicking on a slow-loading website in Google Search and waiting seconds on end as the page loads, it might prevent that from happening again.
Indeed, Google says that the new page speed data point isn’t going to be as strong as other ranking signals in Google Search on mobile. Slow pages with great, highly relevant content will still rank highly, for example.
In February 2017, Google published a study indicating that the average time it takes to fully load a mobile web page was 22 seconds. That obviously isn’t ideal, and the search giant is well aware of that fact — according to its research, 53 percent of web page visits are abandoned if the page takes longer than three seconds to load. Google’s been developing AMP as a speedy alternative to traditional mobile web browsing, but until now, it hadn’t started considering page speed in site rankings on mobile Google Search.
For web developers looking to boost page loading times on mobile, Google suggests using Chrome User Experience Report, a dataset of user experience metrics; Lighthouse, an automated tool that audits web page quality; and PageSpeed Insights, which indicates how well pages are performing and suggests optimizations.
Source: Google Webmaster Central Blog