User experience. Those two words hold a tremendous amount of importance to e-commerce professionals. User experience (or UX) is how the user interacts with a website, with major factors being page speed, layout, colour scheme and text spacing – among others. Despite being such a powerful force in the online the world, a page’s loading speed has never directly influenced SEO rankings via Google’s algorithm – but that’s about to change.

Google’s next mobile-friendly update will introduce page loading time as a major ranking factor.

Here’s what we know so far:

The announcement

Google trends guru, Gary Illyes, recently announced at a conference in Sydney, Australia that we would indeed see page speed as the next important element of UX added into Google’s algorithm. He wasn’t clear on a date, but did mention that it would be in the coming months. It makes sense, seeing as how Google has started caring more and more about the user as of late and has been mixing many new UX ingredients into its mobile-friendly recipe as the months have gone by.

Why page speed?

It’s no secret that the speed of a webpage heavily affects conversion rates –especially on mobile. Slow sites get less traffic and fewer conversions (and probably double the frustration) than their fast-loading counterparts. Simply put, if your site doesn’t load quickly, it’ll cause big problems for your mobile users.

Soon, that will be penalized by Google. If your site is more tortoise than hare, your rankings could be seriously affected.

Page speed statistics

The numbers behind page speed are clear. Here are just few results:

  • WalMart saw up to a 2% increase in conversions with every 1 second of load-time improvement.
  • Mozilla decreased its load time by 2.2 seconds and saw a 15.4% increase in conversions.
  • 40% of customers will abandon a page that takes more than 3 seconds to load!
  • A 1 second delay can cause a 7% loss in conversions!

Page speed has always been important, but now it’s about to be crucial for SEO. Google’s next mobile-friendly update will add it in as an official ranking factor in its algorithm.