Mobile Page Speed to be, indeed, a ranking factor?

Site speed was firstly introduced by Google as a ranking factor in 2010. But this only meant the speed of the desktop version of websites. Developers are now focusing on mobile and Google as already announced the mobile-first index. They’re asking themselves when is the mobile page speed is going to be classified as a ranking factor when it comes to the mobile version of their website. It seems that this will happen in July 2018.

They stated that the Speed update will affect pages that give users slow experience and this will only affect a small number of queries. It doesn’t matter what page is, it will apply to all of them.

You should test your site as soon as possible

As said earlier, this new update will not affect many queries, but pages that give the user a slower experience. Well, Google updated their own page speed insights (PSI) tool.

This available new feature gives a Speed and Optimisation score to websites and it can help in testing performance for both mobile and desktop versions. But the Speed score comes from data from the Chrome User Experience (CrUX) report and gives speed information for most popular URLs, which are familiar to Google’s web crawlers. However, it doesn’t have all URLs which are accessed by the public – so prepare to get an “Unavailable” result as a speed score.

If you get an “Unavailable” score, you’re most likely to get a grade. Fast, which means that the median value of the metric is the fasters third of all the pages; slow, which means that the median value of the metric is the slowest third of all the pages; average, which means that the median value of the metric is the middle t third of all the pages

You’ll get this grade based on the median value of the 2 metrics: First Contentful Paint (FCP) and DOM Content Loaded (DCL).

There are times when the score grading can be vague, but you need to keep in mind that Google already said that the Speed Update was made only for those websites which are considered to be the slowest of all. It doesn’t really matter what’s the score of your page, as long as you’re using any optimization which was recommended by PSI – after doing it, you’ll see some big improvements in the performance, hence the score will get bigger.

There’s a possibility that your site might not get a Speed score. In these cases, you’ll need to run an audit.

To do that, you’ll first need to open Google Chrome and load the page you want to audit. After it loaded, open Chrome DevTools. To do that, select from the main menu View, then go to Developer, then Developer Tools, or simply use the Command+Option+I for Mac or Control+Shift+I for Windows and Linux. Then, proceed to select the Audits tab, then go to Perform an audit. If your website is not set up as a Progressive Web App (PWA), deselect it, but only it, leave the other options checked. After all of this, press Run Audit.

This audit report contains more details than any other optimization which is recommended by PSI. When viewed in Google’s guidelines on measuring performance, using the RAIL model, you’ll be given details about how to improve your page speed and how to get a good user experience.

Using AMP

By using accelerated mobile pages (AMP) and Progressive Web App technology, it doesn’t mean that it will influence the way that the Speed Update affects your site. It’s the same for all pages, it doesn’t really matter what technology is behind these pages’ foundation.

But it depends on the device and browser that are used, so PWAs can give you lots of page speed improvements and it was demonstrated that it influences the time spent on the site and other factors of ranking. This only applies to AMP pages.

But you should bear in mind that there are a lot of factors which can influence the rank and you cannot just believe that AMP or PWAs are going to give you a better ranking. Neither before nor after Google’s Speed Update.

But this also doesn’t mean that AMP and PWAs don’t give some effective benefits – they don’t need to be forgotten.  

Google always makes sure that the information they’re giving it’s relevant. So if a slow page gets a rank which is higher than those who are faster pages, it is simply because the content is relevant.

However, people should not be obsessed with this rank score. Because if the content is of poor quality, there’s no way your site will be better than slow sites with great content. Predikkta Shopify Partners would advise you to always present quality content.

In other words

You have about 5 months to test and optimize the mobile page speed for your site. But the thing is that you were supposed to do that a very long time ago, even if it was not a ranking factor in the past.

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