Mobile Page Speed Update: Another Ranking Signal

Google officially announced that they’d be using page speed as a ranking factor for mobile searches. The search engine has already been paying attention to the loading time of a website as a ranking signal for queries by desktop users. With the update, the company strengthened its emphasis on delivering the most relevant and useful results to all searchers, especially those on their smartphones or tablets.

What’s It For

The developers decided to include page speed as a ranking signal with the assumption that mobile users want information in the soonest possible time. Google not only wants to give searchers the best answers to their queries; they also desire for this knowledge to be passed on seamlessly from the website to the user.

That’s why the performance of your website is crucial, particularly when people click on your link in the SERP. A slow loading site can lead to higher bounce rates and harm your authority as a source of information.

However, Google did clarify in site speed isn’t quantifiable to a single number since different users can have varied experiences with your website. They recommend webmasters to assess the performance of their site with these tools:

  • Chrome User Experience Report – This tool serves as a public directory of user experience metrics for high-traffic websites. It is an aggregate of information from Chrome users who synced their browsing history; thus, making it a valuable source of data on searcher behavior online.
  • Lighthouse – Lighthouse is an automated service from Chrome Developer Tools that’s accessible to all. Its primary use is to improve the quality of web pages being displayed on Google. It includes audits on performance as well as reports on accessibility and progressive web apps.
  • PageSpeed Insights – It has a straightforward way of informing you whether your page performs well on all devices. You simply need to type in a web page URL and wait for the analysis report that tells you if your blog post is mobile-friendly and what page loading issues were encountered by the system.

What Were Its Effects

After the update rolled out, webmasters waited with bated breath for the significant shuffle in the SERPs. However, Google clarified that the implementation of mobile page speed as a ranking signal only affected pages that delivered the slowest experience to searchers. Some websites that made the necessary adjustments to their site saw an improvement in their rankings after some time.

What It Means for You

Site speed continues to be important for both desktop and mobile searches. Users have become more sophisticated and accustomed to getting the information they want in real-time. As a webmaster, you must always check your website to see what technologies you can use to improve its loading time.

Here are a few tips on how to boost page speed:

  • Upgrade Your Database Whether you operate an e-commerce store, a blog, or a news site, it’s highly likely that you’re using a database to store data for your website and to enable users to search for information within your domain. This element can have a significant impact on your page speed.
    If you find that your loading time has been slow lately, you may want to check your database and add an index to optimize it for page speed. An index allows your internal directory to sift through information quickly; narrowing it down to a manageable size and delivering the result faster to the reader.
  • Remove Unnecessary Elements Redundant elements are equivalent to more items that your website needs to load. It can take up the processing speed of your site. Extra tracking codes, video embeds, and even share buttons are additional burdens for your server, so you need to ensure that you only include essential things to lessen the amount of data that you need to send to the server.
  • Find the Balance between Speed and Rankings There were also instances where a slow loading site still retained the top spot in the SERPs because it has consistently delivered relevant content with valuable insights on a user’s query. Speed is only a single ranking signal, and you must check if all pages are running smoothly and delivering the best results to your site consumers.
  • Take Advantage of Caching For first-time visitors of your site, the page loading time may be high because the browser needs to download all elements first such as images, text, and codes. This data is then stored in a temporary cache that allows for faster retrieval of information since it only needs to request for new or updated items.