Bill Slawski has found another Google patent that makes it possible for the search engine to detect and measure reading speed of web documents.
This in most probability is not anything to do with SEO, but more a user behavior tracking, gathering data that Google could use for other reasons. For instance, figuring out the average reading speed of a document and then keeping it a standard to filter out automatic bots or paid page views.
Bill explains in the article how Google could possibly be using this data, for reasons other than SEO.
It would be interesting to learn, how search engines could use this data in grading page/websites.
Though not directly an SEO signal, could it at some point trigger a ranking factor?
For example, if a website has most of its users with above average reading speeds – i.e the article length (average) is 500 words and the average reading speed is 1 minute, while for other websites with 500 words, the average reading speed is 10 minute – then would the website with high reading speed average be affected in any way on the search results (assuming that it is unnatural for a website with real human interaction to read faster than 10 minutes)?
It might not make sense to make any assumptions with whatever little data we have now – but let’s wait and watch.