Google announced that as of 9 July 2018, loading times for all sites – including mobile – will form part of the online search giant’s rankings.
“Although speed has been used in ranking for some time, that signal was focused on desktop searches… starting in July 2018, page speed will be a ranking factor for mobile searches,” Google said in a statement on its blog.
Those businesses whose sites load quickly are likely to see little benefit. But the slowest loading sites could be punished harshly.
“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,” Google said.
“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.”
At the Online Retailer Conference in Sydney this week, a panel of digital marketers and online retailers explored a number of factors that can contribute to slow loading times, as well as other issues that can drive down sales conversions and constrict customer experience.
Davide Defendi of SEO Shark recently revealed nine hacks to boost a Google ranking, noting that less is not always more, particularly when it comes to keywords and the number of words on a given web page.