Earlier this year, Google announced that as part of their “Mobile First” drive, and their on-going commitment to providing answers to search queries as fast as possible, they will, as of July this year, be treating website page loading speed as a ranking factor on mobile searches.
Speed has already been a ranking factor for some time, but that was exclusively focused on searches made from desktop devices. Once the “Speed Update” rolls out, page speed will become a ranking factor for mobile searches as well.
According to the Google Webmaster Blog, this update will only affect pages (not sites?) that deliver the slowest experience to users, and is expected only to affect a small percentage of queries.
The same standard will be applied to all pages, regardless of the technology used to build the page. However, speed is not (and never has been) a primary factor, so it’s perfectly possible that a slow page will still rank, as long as it has high quality relevant content that matches the intent or need of the searcher.
User Experience Key
As always, Google emphasises that a key signal for any kind of ranking is the user experience, and they encourage developers to consider how performance affects a users experience of the page.
If a user can quickly find a comprehensive answer to whatever they searched for on the page, then the page is likely to rank well for that query.