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Google’s warning to mobile publishers: Slow-loading pages will see reduced rank

Google’s warning to mobile publishers: Slow-loading pages will see reduced rank
[Photo: Edho Pratama/Unsplash]

If you do a Google search on your smartphone, pages that take forever to load might not show up anywhere near the top of the results. That is, unless the page is so relevant that not including it in the results would be a disservice to the user, Google said in a blog post today.

The ranking tweak, which will go into effect this July, “will only affect pages that deliver the slowest experience to users and will only affect a small percentage of queries,” Google says in the blog. “It applies the same standard to all pages, regardless of the technology used to build the page.”

It’s not a new concept. Google has done this on the desktop for a long time. Arguably, load time is even more important on mobile because the user is often in motion or is otherwise in a worse position to wait around for web pages to load. Mobile users are also sometimes in limited bandwidth situations, creating another potential slowdown. Google doesn’t want to be the bottleneck.

The move may be a wake-up call for some business owners to connect their server to the web using a faster pipe. It’s also possible that smaller, more cash-strapped businesses could be punished for not having the cash to pay an ISP for a fast connection. And because broadband connections are still relatively slow in rural America, small businesses based there could be unfairly penalized.