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MatthewKeath, post: 211182 wrote:
Speed is damn important, no one is disputing that. But, why would Google rank the pages you clicked on when they are so slow? It’s a complex beast!

There is a Google speed check which has a mobile section, that checks a range of things.
Hi Matt,
Complex beast indeed.

Google’s Gary Illyes is reported as saying at the Mar 2015 SMX West conference, “Having a slow or fast mobile site should not impact your mobile-rankings, assuming your desktop site is fast.”

“Google still uses many desktop signals for mobile ranking, even after April 21”

We also hear G’s John Mueller saying that G is experimenting with load speed in its mobile algo.

The whole load speed issue is very problematic. G has known for years that this is by far the most important element for mobile phone users.

G introduced a slow load speed penalty for desktop sites around 5 years ago but to my knowledge this only impacted the very slowest of sites. I believe a figure of perhaps 1% of websites being affected was cited by Google’s Matt Cutts.

So what is holding up load speed use in the ranking algo?

Three issues/problems come to my mind:

1. What is real mobile page load speed and how can G measure it?
It is not beyond the realms of likelihood for there to be a four-fold or more difference in load speed of any single web page depending on the time of day or week and how/where it is accessed. There are issues like the searcher’s mobile phone service, location of web server, its Internet access, number and types of websites it hosts as well as how many people are using its processing power at any one time, server overload protection issues, number and size of files needed to display the page, bot attacks on servers and websites, etc., etc.

So far G’s developer’s load speed test tool does not attempt to report any real load speeds, it only reports on a small number of the technical issues that can impact on load speed.

2. Mobile Phone Algo Complexity
I assume that using the desktop load speed in the mobile algo initially, is part of minimizing the initial complexity of the mobile phone ranking algo project.

G does not fully know what will happen to its search results when it makes a drastic change. Its entire history has been based on testing small algo changes before implementing them, then modifying them over years to improve result quality. IMHO, what we will see as the mobile ranking algo at the end of Apr 15 will be almost unrecognisable when compared with the mobile ranking algo in 2 years time.

3. Many existing mobile sites may be slow
Another problem could be that so many mobile-enabled websites have been published with seemingly little attention to mobile load speed that if G implemented this element now there may be very few mobile sites left in the top rankings.

Eg. In the last search market audit I conducted, 4 of the top 10 ranked sites were mobile-enabled but they averaged over 50 files and 1 meg of data to load their Home pages.

If people convert a desktop site that uses lots of widgets and plug-ins with many large, high resolution images to a mobile site, it can be appallingly slow.

This factor touches on issues like site design, structure, functionality and content that may need to be considered in the mobile phone website world.

Then there is the user generated content…

In this day of content management systems (CMS) and e-com systems, I still find that most page publishers have no idea about how to create optimised images let alone the consequences of uploading 2 meg single images. (I’m talking about the lay users of the CMS/e-com systems.)

IMHO, the more we explore and the more info provided by G about the mobile phone algo the more potential for “devil in the detail” we encounter.