Google has revealed that it will begin factoring page speed into how it ranks web pages in mobile search results later this year, as it continues its focus on delivering optimised content for smartphone users.
Google said the amount of time it takes pages to load has been a longstanding ranking factor on desktop, and that recent studies showing that people prefer to consume content that loads quickly informs their latest decision to include the signal in its mobile SERPs.
Brands still have time to get their web pages ready for the change though, as Google said it would not begin using page speed as a ranking signal until July this year.
Google revealed that the update is only likely to impact the slowest pages as content that is relevant and up to date will still be a major factor in SERPs. However, the change is yet another indication of the search giant’s desire to double down on mobile, so brands should see it as another call to arms regarding optimising pages for smartphone devices.
The update will not favour any underlying tech used to design and develop pages either, as Google confirmed speed criteria would be the same across the board.
Google revealed the news in an official blog post, where it directed brands to use tools such as the Chrome User Experience Report and PageSpeed Insights to evaluate the performance of a page. Webmasters now have around six months to update and optimise before the change takes effect.