Google recently announced its latest project. This refers to improving its mobile search results, taking up the factor of page speed into its search ranking. The search honcho has recently noted that page speed ‘has been used in ranking for some time’ but that was definitely for desktop searches. Commencing on July 2018, page speed would be now quite a ranking factor for mobile searches on Google as well.
Back in November 2014, Google has started depicting sites as ‘mobile-friendly’ for denoting pages optimized for phones. For the next few years, the company has considerably spent on experimenting with using the label as a ranking factor, ultimately starting these changes in April 2015 and increasing the effect in May 2016. The label has been removed in August 2016 when the company noted that majority of the pages have become ‘mobile-friendly’.
Google has now planned for that power again to make the mobile pages load faster. Here, Google has explained that “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”.
Now, it needs mentioning that this move is part of a bigger initiative by Google to speed up the mobile web. Earlier this month, the company had also started rolling out its new Search Console to website owners globally. This tool again lets the web developers analyze their site’s indexing on Google Search, view analytics, peruse inbound links, submit and remove content for crawling, monitor malware, and so on.
Here, Google would not be offering a tool that directly indicates whether a page would be affected by this new mobile ranking factor starting in July. Instead, the company has pointed out to three of its own resources that developers can use to evaluate their mobile page’s performance, namely, Chrome User Experience Report, Lighthouse, and PageSpeed Insights.
Interestingly, this announcement doesn’t mention Google’s Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) project. So, it can be assumed that the sped-up, cached versions of mobile pages have made their way to Google’s search results instead of being limited to just the Top Stories.’