Starting in July 2018, Google finally recognized mobile page speed as one of the ranking factors in mobile search results.
The speed of a page is now a landing page factor for Google Ads and Search.
When a user experiences sluggish loading speed on mobile, they're much less likely to discover what they have been looking for or buy from that site in future. For this, many sites have lost on an immense opportunity, especially when more than half the visitants abandoned the site if a mobile page takes more than 3 seconds to load.
Speed is now a ranking factor as Google recognized it for mobile device searches. Users look for their answers to their questions as quickly as they can and data over the time shows that users really care about how fast their pages load. The Google search team announced that speed would be a ranking determinant for desktop searches, and as well for the ranking factor for mobile searches too.
Google said that sites are faster and abandonment rates are lesser since making the page speed a ranking determinant last year. Around the last year 2018, improvements have started being noticed across the whole ecosystem of the web. On per country basis, more than 95% of countries have experienced improved speeds.
There was an improvement seen in certain sites segments where no improvements have seen the previous year:
"For the slowest one-third of traffic, we saw user-centric performance metrics improve by 15% to 20% in 2018. As a comparison, no improvement was seen in 2017."
As it is well known in Online Marketing - the longer it takes a site to load, the faster the users abandon it. Well, it turns out to be true on the contrary. When a site loads faster, users are more likely to stay. An overall 20% reduction is detected in the abandonment rate for navigations initiated from mobile search due to these Google update on these speed improvements.
The 'Speed Update', as we call it, will affect those pages that deliver the slowest user experience and only affect a small query percentage. The search query purpose is still a strong factor, so, even a slow page may still in rank higher in SERPs if it has relevant and great content.
We encourage every developer to think out of the box and broadly about how a page performance can affect a user's end experience of their site and also consider a variety of user metrics experience. Although there is no such tool that helps in indicating directly whether a page is affected by these latest new ranking signal, here are some tools which can be used to evaluate a page's performances:
Chrome User Experience Report, is a public database for a set of key user experience metrics, as encountered by any Chrome users in a real-world situation.
Lighthouse, is an automatic part and tool of Chrome Developer Tools for quality auditing (accessibility, performance, and more) of web pages.
PageSpeed Insights, a tool which shows how well the page is performing on the Chrome UX Report and recommends performance optimization.
After this update, the developers are definitely making speed a priority. If you're a developer working on site, now is your time to assess your page performance using these speed tools. Think about how this review can affect guests' experience. Consider evaluating a variety of real-world-user centric metrics on performance, and who knows you may end up with great conversion rates!