Mobile page speed doesn’t currently impact your organic search rankings, but this could soon change, according to Google’s Gary Illyes.
Speaking at the ‘Search Marketing Summet’ in Sydney earlier this month, Illyes inferred that Google is actively looking to update its algorithms to compensate for mobile load speed – specifically looking at the agility of optimised pages aiming to appease the company’s mobile-friendly algorithm.
At present, many of the mobile ranking signals used by Google are based on desktop pages, not mobile. If you have an exceptionally speedy desktop offering, but a slow mobile variant, your mobile rankings are unlikely to take a significant hit, but this is expected to change.
Page speed became a ranking factor for Google back in 2010, and is something we’ve spoken about at length before. In June 2013, Matt Cutts hinted that a negative factor would soon arrive to combat slow mobile pages, but to date no such update has been rolled out.
Illyes confirmed on Twitter that the change is months, not years away from happening, and is very much in the planning phase:
— Gary Illyes (@methode) June 1, 2016
Illyes was also asked to explain just how fast does the page need to be. He replied: “Aim for the highest speed you can. Green (Google’s testing tool uses a three-tiered colour code) is great, but like desktop, I doubt it will be that important. If your site is incredibly, (you will) see a negative impact, but if you are a tiny fraction faster than your competitor, I don’t know if that will make much of an impact.”
Given that trillions of searches take place on Google every year and that over half of those searches happen on mobile, it seems logical for page speed, as well as other factors, to be mobile and desktop-dependent.
Is your site ready for the change? If not, it needs to be, otherwise you may find your current search positions drop dramatically.