In January 2018 Google put the word out that they would be instituting a new algorithm update, called The Speed Update, due to begin use in July 2018. It is the end of July, the Speed Update is here, up and running – so what is it, how has it affected your business and what do you need to do about it?
What You Need To Know…
The Speed Update is a problem solving computer program related specifically to mobile searches, and is not associated with desktop searches, as most previous algorithmic programs were. In searching mobile pages, the loading speed of a page will play a large part in the new algorithm, but it is only one of several factors used to determine a site’s ranking. This might be frustrating for some business owners looking to assess their page’s accessibility, as it is only a portion of the whole assessment, but Google isn’t quick to line out how exactly this Speed Update works, declaring simply that it will affect only the “slowest of sites”.
How might the Speed Update affect your web traffic, and thereby your business? Speed has been a measuring tool within the Google universe for several years, but this is the first time they have applied it specifically to mobile searches. Worried about its application? Don’t be, Google execs tell us. The implementation of this new algorithm relates only to the slowest loading pages, and has virtually no effect on already well performing pages. If you as a business owner are concerned about web site performance, rest assured that this update is not for you, you already have the situation well in hand!
So how will it work? Google’s aim with this new algorithm is to address only “the slowest sites” on the internet. Google’s original announcement said this will “only affect a small percentage of queries.” More likely than not, Google will be measuring the page loading experience against that of the average 3G user, which is still the most common coverage across the board. It will allow “incremental increases” in rankings on a sliding scale, so every increase in page loading speed helps you climb the ranking ladder. This is an improvement over previous desktop algos, which were only able to assess a page as being “fast” or “slow”. Every mobile page speed improvement made could potentially increase rankings. Don’t look for a huge jump in ratings, however; Google allows that business owners will see changes only in the slowest loading pages.
So what can you, as a business owner, do to increase rankings? Relax, its not you, its them…the slow sites, that is! As we mentioned before, if you are a business owner that has been consistently concerned about addressing web performance, the Speed Update will not affect your ratings. Unsure about your web performance, or just want something more concrete to make an assessment with? Our suggestion is to have your webmaster utilize the metrics available from the Chrome User Experience report, the Lighthouse tool or the Page Insights tool. Remember, sites that are fast for users have higher visibility, which impacts more than just your SEO. Speeding up your site can improve conversions, links, shares….you name it!