As of July 9th, 2018 Google’s new “Speed Update” has rolled out to all users. The update will officially add mobile page speed as a ranking signal. With that said, the signal itself will only affect a small portion of websites. Google seems to be placing the focus on targeting websites that don’t offer much of anything else, on top of having slow page speed. From Google’s Webmaster Central Blog:
“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. 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.”
That last part is important. What Google wants to achieve ultimately is a better web search, period. There are millions of websites out there that still rank for keywords while having a slow page speed. On the other hand, there are plenty of fast websites out there with no substance at all. So what Google infers here is that content is still king. The page speed signal is simply going be the icing on the cake for websites already meeting pre-existing signal requirements for search rank.
It’s a smart strategy. If Google tanked every website with poor loading speed, search results would likely reset and fall back on the primary ranking factors. The majority of websites out now simply aren’t fast enough for Google’s taste. With this update, they found a compromise to penalize the worst of the worst websites on the internet. It’s pretty fair to everyone else. If you work hard on your website across the board, you’re probably already reaping the extra benefits. If you’re meeting some of the signal requirements, you should be ok. However, that nudge should be sending you down the path to improving your page speed and usability.
If your content isn’t relevant, you’re most likely not using your website effectively in the first place. Or you one of the many companies on the web that don’t rely on your website for new business. It’s these types of websites that are more likely to take a serious hit.