Page load speed has been a significant ranking factor for Google since 2009, and up until now it’s been focused on desktop traffic. But in an algorithm update Google rolled out in July, the speed that pages load for users on mobile devices will become the important factor, regardless of whether the page is on a responsive website or a dedicated mobile site.
Google says this update will only affect a small proportion of search queries and pages with the slowest experiences. A page with a slower load speed can still rank if the content answers the search query, but websites that fail to provide fast load speeds for mobile users may find their great content has less visibility than it deserves.
This is an algorithm update, so knowing your business is key to understanding if your site has been affected. At Three Whiskey, we’ll be benchmarking our clients’ sites to identify any that are performing well below standard, so we can understand whether the website is affected by the algorithm update, and take preventative steps if needed.
Page load speed will be more important than it has been in the past, but it’s still only one element of an algorithm which takes into account hundreds of different signals. The update will only affect a small number of sites; and within niche industries, or industries with very specific product offerings, the relevancy of the site will be just as important as its speed.
Putting mobile first
If you’re one of the rare companies where mobile traffic hasn’t outperformed desktop yet, this update shows that Google is focussed on prioritising user experience on mobile devices. So investing in mobile now will prevent you from falling behind your competitors in the future.