Google has announced that a new ranking algorithm designed for mobile search will launch in July 2018, and will result in web pages that “deliver the slowest experience to users” being negatively impacted.
The search engine giant has recommended that webmasters use Google’s PageSpeed report and make any improvements that are required, as this is likely to result in your pages not being penalised once the “Speed Update” has been released later this year.
Google’s Zhiheng Wang and Doantam Phan wrote:
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.
In previous years, Google has been keen to stress the importance of having a fast loading website, although this was to achieve effective performance on desktop searches only. Now though, with the rise of mobile searches in recent years, Google is switching its focus from desktop to mobile, so having a fast and efficient mobile-friendly site is now more important than ever before.
However, since the announcement, a Google spokesperson has stated that slow mobile pages may still rank highly if it “contains great, relevant content”. So, this suggests that content is still king when it comes to achieving a great organic ranking on Google, but it is still certainly vital that all other elements meet Google’s search algorithm requirements, which includes ensuring that your site loads quickly on mobile devices.