Chrome for Android will now label ‘fast pages’ and may eventually rank them higher in search
Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge
Chrome for Android will begin adding “fast page” labels to the context menus of pages it considers high-quality, Google announced Monday. The company says the labels will be based on signals from its Core Web Vitals metrics, which keep track of user experience, including page load time, responsiveness, and how stable content is while it loads.
Right now, there’s only one way to tell: if you long-press a link before visiting a page, you’ll get that “fast page” label if it meets Google’s standards.
But ultimately, a “fast page” might get ranked higher in Google search as well. Google tells The Verge that those same Core Web Vitals metrics are among the criteria that will be considered in search rankings when the labels launch.
In the blog post announcing the labels, Google says that “optimizing for the Core Web Vitals may require some investments in improving page quality,” suggesting that developers may want to pay attention if they want to stay on top of Google search. The company says it has updated its developer tools with recommendations for how to meet those page quality goals. Google also has its own AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) format, which it previously pushed to make the mobile web faster, but this may be another way of achieving the same goal.
Revenue from search is a big moneymaker for Google parent company Alphabet; despite a dip in revenue year over year, in the second quarter of 2020, search brought in $21.3 billion of its $38.3 billion in revenue.
These “fast page” labels will be included in the beta version of Chrome 85, but if devs really want to see it in action before then, Google has instructions on how to enable the feature.