Page speed affecting rankings yet?

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Hey guys,
New here, but over 10 years over at BHW. I've been lurking here for a couple of weeks now and I think I've found my new home. :smile:

So Google is rolling out core web vitals being a ranking factor as of May this year. Are you finding that page speed improvements you're making to your sites are already making a difference?
When this update does roll out, do you think it will be a significant ranking factor? I've been busy getting green scores on all of my websites :D
 

Ryuzaki

お前はもう死んでいる
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Page Speed has been a ranking factor for years now. The Core Web Vitals are a "different" thing. They're related but also expands it out more into specific user experience items, especially like the Cumulative Layout Shift.

But yeah, page speed definitely matters. Google wants to satisfy it's users, and to do that it needs to provide a good user experience itself, and that means not sending users to sites that provide a poor user experience. It's the same how they'll de-rank you with too many ads or interstitials and pop ups everywhere, no content above the fold, etc.

I've pushed the whole page speed optimization thing to the limits and my findings are two-fold:
  1. It's a huge ranking factor - This is in the sense that it really seems to hold you back more and more as you push up the front page. It puts a gelatin ceiling above you that makes it harder and harder to climb further up, for the user experience reasons above. Google doesn't want to send you the users.
  2. It's a medium ranking factor - This is in regards to the benefits you'll receive from all user metrics. Improving your page speed means you'll improve time-on-site, conversions, bounce rate, less pogosticking back to the SERPs, etc. It cascades out to help you in a lot of areas. It will improve your revenue, too.
  3. It's a small ranking factor - This one can seem small but it's not, because it can quickly accumulate into bigger earnings, especially if you push a lot of traffic or are eCommerce. But what I see when improving page speed drastically is that you'll notice that you begin to rank for a lot more, and a lot more easily, for long-tail keywords with lower competition. This is a good feedback mechanism that you're breaking through the "gelatin ceiling". It's not so significant that you'll move from #3 to #1, but you'll move from #30 to front page for lower competition terms and start appearing for gobs more of them.
Page speed is critical. As far as the Core Web Vitals goes, I think Google is going to discover that very few people are going to follow them down some of those paths. Their expectations are logical and we should strive to meet them, but their measurements aren't based in reality. They're based in what they'd like to see us do, but not what's actually going on. Some of the biggest sites on the net fail all of them majestically and will continue to do so while also having piss poor mobile PageSpeed Insights metrics.