We have long talked about how important it is to have a mobile-friendly web site for your business. Consumers are more and more embracing mobile technology. Now more than 80 percent of consumers own a smart phone and the majority of them use it to search for goods and services they need.
This summer, not only will have a mobile-friendly website be important, but the speed of it will factor into search engine rankings, too. Google announced earlier this year that a ‘mobile speed update’ will impact search engine rankings, beginning this July.
“People want to be able to find answers to their questions as fast as possible — studies show that people really care about the speed of a page. Although speed has been used in ranking for some time, that signal was focused on desktop searches. Today we’re announcing that starting in July 2018, page speed will be a ranking factor for mobile searches,” Google announced on its webmaster page. “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.”
This is not exactly a new development. Google has used speed as a ranking factor for desktop search since 2010. It has used speed of mobile sites in its algorithms before, too, but this will be the first time it will be an official ranking factor.
That doesn’t mean that your website will automatically rank lower if it doesn’t load as fast as your competitors. Google also reminds marketers that content is still king: “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 also points to a few tools that can help determine if your web site will be affected by the change—although cautioning, at the same time, that none of the tools provided will be entirely fail safe. The easiest one to use is Lighthouse, an open-source automated tool designed to help businesses improve the quality of their sites.