Come May 2021, and it might matter a lot. Google plans to update its algorithm to give your website’s speed and code quality more weight when ranking among the organic results. You can read some interesting things here and here.
So far, HTTPS, website speed, website behavior on mobile devices have been somewhat important for SEO. They are about to become a lot more important from now on, though, as the May 2021 update is supposed to include a factor called Page Experience. This update will add more importance to mobile friendliness, safe-browsing, HTTPS, and intrusive interstitial guidelines, a site’s loading speed, interactivity, and visual stability.
This means that, especially if you know that your website doesn’t perform very well, you need to start looking at fixing your issues. It’s always better to prevent rather than fix after the damage is done – you never know how long it will take to get back if you lose your rankings. This page will help you identify your rating (on a scale from 1 to 100) and existing issues. Go check your website out and see where you stand – ideally, you should see green, but that’s difficult to achieve for a complex website without employing hacks (which we never recommend).
On the other hand, Google’s updates have been rather unexpected lately, so that this update might have a minimal impact on current rankings. We don’t know, but I wouldn’t want to risk a healthy site’s rankings if there was anything I could do about it now.
The important things regarding your site’s speed are going to be:
- Time until it becomes interactive – after the assets are loaded, everything needs to be rendered in a specific order. If you load huge libraries, huge style files and employ complex scripts to render your content, this will be high.
- Visual stability of the page – during the page load, it is advisable to have a stable page so that items don’t move around. You know when you try to click a link but instead, you get to click that pesky ad because something loaded above and the content shifted? That’s what Google wants to avoid.
Go check out Google’s speed test and find out how much work you’ve got to do: https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights/
This is a nice tool if you ever want to test multiple pages at once.