From the blog

Google’s Algorithm “Speed Update” - What You Need To Know To Keep Ahead Of The Game

  • Digital Marketing
  • SEO

03 Apr 2018

If you’ve ever dipped your toes into the murky world of SEO you already know that trying to boost your Google page ranking is a bit like working with the Wizard of Oz, except in this instance the man pulling the strings behind the curtain is Google’s mystical, all-seeing-and-all-knowing algorithm. Much like any other deity, there’s no real way of knowing exactly how it works, you just have to offer up your sacrifices (in the form of keywords, relevant content, website updates and sitelinks) and pray that the Google gods smile upon you and draw you ever closer to heaven (the top of the first page of a Google search).

But in January something miraculous happened. The clouds parted, the sun shone down and we were allowed a brief glimpse into the workings of the almighty algorithm, or more accurately we were allowed an insight into how it will work from here on in. Called the “Speed Update”, the new ranking algorithm designed for mobile search will effectively penalise websites that “deliver the slowest experience to users” on mobile devices with a lower ranking.

Google’s Zhiheng Wang and Doantam Prah wrote (we’re assuming on some stone tablets that were carried down a mountain by a Charlton Heston lookalike):

“The “Speed Update,” as we’re calling it, 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.”

Now this isn’t a huge surprise as way back in 2010 Google said that page speed was a ranking factor but was focused on desktop searches only. They’ve also been promising to look at factoring in mobile page speed for quite a few years now, and with the increasing dominance of mobile devices when it comes to contemporary internet usage it makes sense to do so now.

So what does this mean for you? Should you start freaking the hell out and running around in a panic if your website isn’t optimised for mobile devices? Thankfully, no it doesn’t. The changes won’t go live until July 2018, so this means you still have time to up your mobile website speed game before it can affect that precious SEO work that you’ve been putting so much time and effort into. Google recommends you use the new updated PageSpeed report and tools like Lighthouse to measure your page speed and make any necessary improvements.

Beyond the SEO implications of the “Speed Update”, this algorithm change is a great opportunity to review your website and make sure that it’s optimised for mobile usage. A shocking number of websites aren’t, and in an age when everyone whips out their phone to browse the net when they have a spare five seconds to kill, not having a website that looks great and is responsive when viewed on a mobile device will really hurt you.

Looking to boost your page ranking and improve your website’s mobile speed and functionality? Our high priests of SEO and development wizards can make sure that your page looks and works great on mobile devices, ranks well and generates you the leads and/or sales that it should. Get in touch today for a chat about what we can do for you!