After rumours of ranking changes in January 2018, Google confirmed a new algorithm update would be coming in July 2018. The “Speed Update” will begin using page speed in mobile search rankings.
On January 15th, there were many rumours flying around the SEO community that Google had updated the search algorithm. Many people reported a lot of movement in the search results, in terms of rankings and traffic. This was speculated to be similar to an algorithm change that happened back in December 2017.
The Maccabees update, that occurred back in December 2017, was part of an official update where Google stated: “we released several minor improvements during this timeframe, part of our regular and routine efforts to improve relevancy.”
January 2018 Algorithm Updates
Since the 15th, Google has announced on the 17th that there is a new ranking algorithm on the way which was designed in order to downgrade the organic search rankings of mobile pages which had very slow load times.
Google has previously used speed as part of rankings, but that signal was focused entirely on desktop searches. So it was only the speed of a desktop version of your site that would impact your rankings. Now, Google
What is the Speed Update all about?
At the heart of what Google is doing is ensuring users of Google Search can find answers to questions and what they are looking for efficiently and quickly.
Ranking factors are all geared towards giving searchers a better searching experience. Mobile page speed is, of course, a very good thing to have in terms of keeping mobile users of your site happy. And this, in turn, keeps Google happy. And they will give you higher rankings in the search results if you provide a responsive, mobile-friendly experience that loads quickly to searchers of Google.
Google puts it this way:
“The “Speed Update”… will only affect pages that deliver the slowest experience to users and will only affect a small percentage of queries. It applies the same standard to all pages, regardless of the technology used to build the page. The intent of the search query is still a very strong signal, so a slow page may still rank highly if it has great, relevant content.”
What do I need to do for SEO?
The simplest way is to make sure the mobile version of your site isn’t slow, and loads quickly for users.
In order to assess the performance of your website, Google suggests the following:
- Chrome User Experience Report, a public dataset of key user experience metrics for popular destinations on the web, as experienced by Chrome users under real-world conditions
- Lighthouse, an automated tool and a part of Chrome Developer Tools for auditing the quality (performance, accessibility, and more) of web pages
- PageSpeed Insights, a tool that indicates how well a page performs on the Chrome UX Report and suggests performance optimizations