It’s no mystery that Page Speed has been a Ranking Factor since 2009. However last week Google revealed that starting in July 2018, page speed will be a ranking factor for mobile searches.
Google says that the intent behind a query is still a “very strong signal,” and that a slow page may still rank if it has relevant content. However the Speed Update will have a negative impact on pages that deliver the slowest experience compared to their competition.
Test Your Website
There are plenty of tools available online to test your website and highlight areas that you may need to improve. Google recommends https://testmysite.withgoogle.com/. The tool currently tests sites via a 3G connection, which may not be a true reflection of what your visitors expect. Another popular option is https://gtmetrix.com/
Consider Accelerated Mobile Pages
Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) is a stripped-down version of your page, which will load in a very fast time, typically between 15% and 85% quicker than the standard page.
What about Adwords?
If your pages are slow loading, it could be having (or could soon have more of on impact on) your quality score, meaning that you may not be as competitive, or be paying more per click than you need to be.
Open the Keyword view in your Adwords account and view the “Landing Page Experience” column. If you see “Above Average” that’s great. If you see “Average” you may have a few things to improve, but if you see “Below Average” you’ll need to make some changes.
July Isn’t That Far Away
It’s great that Google has announced this change so far in advance, you have plenty of time to resolve issues – don’t log into your analytics account in July and see your traffic nosedive!