Google doesn’t announce the vast majority of its algorithm changes. The reason for this, according to Google itself, is that it makes hundreds of changes a year (that’s at least one or two a day), and most of them simply aren’t major enough to be worth announcing. That means that when Google does take the time to announce an update, you can definitely count on its potential to affect your site’s rankings. The Google ‘Speed Update’ is one such announcement, aimed at improving the ever more important mobile experience for users. As Twentyone’s SEO Manager, I’m here to answer your key questions, not least of which is: how’s it going to affect your site?
According to Google’s recent announcement, its Speed Update is designed to downgrade the search rankings of pages that load particularly slowly on mobile. Google mentioned in its announcement that its users “want to find answers as fast as possible”, and its Speed Update is the latest example of its commitment to the demands of…well, all of us! As of July 2018, page loading speed will become a permanent ranking factor for mobile searches. Now, this latest update probably won’t come as a surprise to a lot of people, as page loading speed has long been a factor in the rankings of desktop searches. Back in October my colleague Michael, our Technical Director, went into more detail in a post on the general importance of page loading speed.
So what does this mean for your website? Well, as long as your webpages load reasonably quickly (within a few seconds) on mobile, you’ve got nothing to worry about. However, if you don’t think your site is as lightning-quick on mobile as it could be, don’t panic! Google has stressed that the Speed Update will be mainly focused on the pages that deliver the very slowest experience to users, and will affect only a small percentage of queries (though obviously that’s not yet terribly specific).
Another point the search engine giant has been keen to make is that the intent of the search query is still a pivotal ranking factor, so it’s possible for even the slower mobile pages to still rank relatively well, as long as they’ve got high-quality content that’s relevant to the search query. What Google means by this is that site speed is an important factor in determining your ranking, but remember it’s still one of several!
According to recent research, that’s how long it takes for users to decide whether they want to stay on a website. Our patience is a little longer for mobile, but not by much. Most of us will give it between 6 to 10 seconds, before in all likelihood moving onto a competitor’s website. Don’t forget that in 2016, mobile browsing officially overtook desktop, so you’ll need to make sure you give equal priority to improving page loading speeds on both platforms. Otherwise, not only could it affect your organic search rankings in Google’s search page results, but even the customers who do find your site might be giving up on it, too!
If you want to improve your search rankings in Google, I’m here to help. As Search Manager here at Twentyone, I specialise in crafting tailored, bespoke Search Marketing (SEO) strategies geared towards putting your business on the first page of Google’s search results. Twentyone’s all-under-one-roof service offering also allows us to provide a Conversion Rate Optimisation service, which capitalises on your increased traffic by encouraging even more of your web visitors to convert into faithful customers. Give us a call on 01254 660 560, or simply email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to find out how we can help you make it on the web!