Google is revamping how it ranks search results for mobile. Beginning in July, it'll be factoring in page speed as one of the signals, according to the company. Google calls it as the "Speed Update," and it's designed to downrank websites that are very slow to load.
Do keep in mind that while the speed of a certain site will come into significant consideration, the change isn't so drastic as to make it the only determining factor. Certainly, there will be times when slow-loading pages will still rank high — probably when they contain the most relevant content a user search for, for instance.
"It applies the same standard to all pages, regardless of the technology used to build the page," said Google in a blog post. "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 Introduces Speed Update For Mobile Search
Google says the Speed Update will only affect pages which "deliver the slowest experience to users" and will only impact a tiny portion of search queries. The change makes sense as the search company has been increasingly focusing on page load times.
Back in February 2016, Google started highlighting sites that used its Accelerated Mobile Page technology to speed up the rendering of pages when using the mobile version of Google search. Then later in April in the same year, Google began to place AMP pages higher up in search results.
Google also most recently began rolling out its new search index to several sites to fulfill its promise of favoring the mobile version of pages over their desktop version. That change focused on ensuring both the mobile site isn't a truncated version of the desktop, and that both contain the same information, which doesn't always happen despite the increasing preference of mobile web browsers over their desktop counterparts.
Mobile Is Beating Desktop
Speaking of mobile overtaking desktop, the changes mentioned above, which are obviously focused on improving mobile-based experience, are critical steps for Google, if only because more people are using smartphones than computers nowadays for basic features, most especially a quick search query.
In fact, mobile surpassed desktop in terms of searches back in 2015, and mobile continues to increasingly overtake desktop. That only means mobile has been more of a focal point for Google search than desktop, and the Speed Update reflects the company's changing principles toward mobile experiences.