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Page Speed ​​as a Google Ranking Factor: What You Need to Know

Does a page's load time affect its SEO?If so, how strong is the signal?Find out as we investigate claims about page speed.

We're all working on improving page speed, hoping to benefit from a ranking boost.

Google is said to prioritize speed when ranking search results, giving fast sites an advantage over sites that take longer to load.

So does the load time of a page affect its SEO?

If so, how strong is the signal?

We'll answer these questions when investigating claims about page speed as a Google ranking factor.

Disclaimer: Page Speed ​​is a Ranking Factor

It is said that pages that reach a certain speed threshold will benefit from a ranking boost in Google search results.

Speed ​​is measured by how long it takes for a page to load after a user clicks a link on a search engine results page (SERP) – especially now that Core Web Vitals evaluates loading, interactivity, and visual stability.

Google offers a tool called PageSpeed ​​Insights to measure load times, which further fuels the claim that speed is a ranking factor.

These claims also stem from Google's knowledge that pages aim to provide a great user experience.

This makes it easy to believe that faster pages have an advantage in search.

It's more pleasing to load a page as soon as you click it - that's the whole idea behind AMP.

A SERP full of lightning-fast links sounds like a satisfying solution, but it has the potential to exclude more relevant pages that take longer to load.

This is where the argument that page speed is a ranking factor starts to fall apart.

Google has repeatedly said that relevance is the number one ranking factor.

If fast pages are auto-boosted, they can be served before the content, providing better answers to the user's query.

This is a disservice to seekers because it sacrifices quality, it sacrifices speed.

In short, there are claims that page speed is a ranking factor, and there are claims against page speed.

The weight of this so-called signal is hotly debated within the SEO industry.

Let's look at the evidence in the next section and clear up some misconceptions.

Evidence of page speed as a ranking factor

Speed ​​has been a factor in Google rankings since 2010.

April 2010 announcement confirmedGoogle's search algorithm starts taking speed into account when ranking search results:

"Like us, our users take speed very seriously – that's why we decided to factor site speed into our search rankings.

This update applies to desktop search results, where content considered fast on desktop may load relatively slowly on mobile devices.

To be sure, mobile searchers are still getting frustratingly slow page service — that is, until nearly a decade later.

In July 2018, Google included page speed as a ranking factor for mobile search results.

The company announcement stated:

"Users want answers to their questions quickly, and the data shows that people really care about how fast their pages load.The search team announced that speed will be a ranking signal for desktop searches in 2010, and as of this month (July 2018), page speed will also be a ranking factor for mobile searches.

Google continues to consider page speed when delivering search results, although the company confirmed that raw signals have been replaced by page experience signals.

Google's John Mueller tweeted:

"We try to avoid unnecessary duplication in the code, so I'm assuming that [the page experience update] replaces the previous speed ranking factor.

For more information on how Google Web Experience updates evaluate speed, see our section on Core Web Vitals.

Page Speed ​​as a Ranking Factor: Our Verdict

Page speed is a confirmed ranking factor for Google search results.

The pace at which you need to meet to benefit from this ranking signal is constantly changing.Currently, it can be met by hitting Google's minimum threshold for Core Web Vitals.

It's worth repeating that speed doesn't carry as much weight as a page's relevance.

So keep that in mind when deciding where to put your SEO resources into.

Extended reading:

Is Google's MUM a search ranking factor?

Mobile friendliness as a Google ranking factor: what you need to know

Are Local Citations (NAP) a Google Ranking Factor?

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