Google has revealed that it is going to use mobile page speed as a key metric for the ranking of mobile pages in search engine results in the future. Speaking at the Search Marketing Summit on Wednesday, Google’s Gary Illyes said that the use of page speed as a mobile-friendly signal was currently in the “planning phase.”
At the moment, Google doesn’t separate desktop signals in mobile SERPs, so even if a desktop web page is fast while the mobile version is slow, brands and publishers are not penalised in mobile rankings. This could soon be about to change, as a mobile-specific page speed may be arriving in the coming months.
Google has also confirmed that it is working on a completely separate mobile search index, which is likely to be launched when the tech giant next updates its mobile-friendly algorithm. Just a couple of years ago, desktop searches still outstripped mobile, but that has changed recently, and a mobile-only index would appear to make more sense now.
There are still some teething issues for Google to sort out before rolling out the index, as a number of factors can adversely affect rankings such as on-page content and converting desktop to mobile. Illyes added: “We are losing signals when we convert parts of our index into mobile index because there are fewer tokens on the page.” Google has been working on the index for two years, but it could be a while yet before it arrives.
Now on Tap
In other Google news, the tech giant has launched a new “Now on Tap” feature for Android, which will allow users to highlight a specific word or phrase in the content they are viewing and get a definition and further links to relevant apps. The new feature will also work for image searches.
“All of today’s updates are available everywhere you can already use Now on Tap. Word definitions are currently only available in English but will be rolling out to other languages over the coming weeks,” Google Product Manager Aneto Okonkwo said. “We hope these updates help you find what you’re looking for and get things done just a little faster than before.”