The latest update has consequences for publishers with slow-loading mobile sites. In the future, they will rarely be used by Facebook users. This makes page speed even more important as a ranking factor.
Facebook would like to offer its users the best possible user experience on the desktop as well as mobile in the app. The news feed algorithm contributes a lot to this.
It decides which posts a user sees and in which order they are played. The sooner a Facebook post appears in the timeline, the higher the probability that it will be seen and clicked.
Page speed factor: Shorter waiting times for users
Only Facebook itself knows which factors determine the news feed algorithm exactly. For some time, however, Facebook seems to have attached importance to fast-loading articles and videos. With the latest update, the page speed ranking factor has gotten even more important.
The two Facebook engineers Jiayi Wen and Shengbo Guo explain in a blog post that in the coming months, more stories of publishers which load faster on mobile terminals will be displayed. “Users can spend more time reading stories that are relevant to them,” the two employees explain.
The basis for the re-balancing of the Facebook algorithm was an internal investigation. According to this, 40 percent of visitors leave a website if it does not load after three seconds.
This frustrating experience should not fall back on Facebook as an information provider. Therefore, a new barrier is introduced with page peed.
Mobile first: Impact on publishers
In addition to the expected loading time of a page in the mobile app, Facebook adds two more factors to the calculation. On the one hand, the network checks how fast (or slow) your current internet connection is. On the other hand, the average page load time of the publisher also affects placement.
Facebook itself assumes that most site operators will not notice any relevant changes. Publishers with slow sites (for example, from advertisements or videos) will have less Facebook traffic.
Pressure is growing again on publishers to build fast, user-friendly web sites thanks to this latest news feed update.