Google will consider load times in mobile search rankings

Only the slowest sites should be affected.


Google is always optimizing search, but has given mobile more prominence lately, including axing its long-running Instant Search feature last July to unify searching on desktop and device. Their latest tweak, which goes into effect July 2018, aims to improve the mobile browsing experience by factoring in a page's loading speed to its search rank, promising to lower slow sites.

The so-called 'Speed Update' will only affect pages that 'deliver the slowest experience to users and will only affect a small percentage of queries,' according to Google's blog. While the search team was coy with exactly how this new factor will affect rankings, it did encourage developers to gauge their site's performance (hint hint) using the Chrome User Experience Report, the automated tool Lighthouse and PageSpeed Insights.

The update applies the same standard to all pages regardless of what tech it's built with. And if it's any consolation, relevance is still king: "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,' according to Google's post.