Google Speed Update is now live!

Jul 11th, 2018

The day finally arrived and Google has announced that their Speed Update would roll out to all users from yesterday morning. First brought to our attention in January 2018 the new ranking algorithm is designed specifically to downgrade the search rankings of the slowest mobile pages

So what does this all mean? Well, from yesterday, page speed will be a ranking factor for mobile searches.

According to the initial blog from Google, the search engine said: “This update will only affect pages that deliver the slowest experience to users and will only affect a small percentage of queries.”  Google Webmasters didn’t actually add to the news but posted on Twitter to show that it was live.

Posting on the forum, Google Webmasters said: “The “Speed Update,” as we’re calling it, will only affect pages that deliver the slowest experience to users and 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.

“We encourage developers to think broadly about how performance affects a user’s experience of their page and to consider a variety of user experience metrics. Although there is no tool that directly indicates whether a page is affected by this new ranking factor, here are some resources that can be used to evaluate a page’s performance.”

To understand a little more about the update we asked Mark McGonigle, Head of Organic Search at Click Consult what he thought it would mean to clients. He said: “Now that Google have confirmed that they will be rolling out the Google Speed Update which will  “only affect pages that deliver the slowest experience to users and will only affect a small percentage of queries.” Some online webmasters have already started to see a change in their mobile performance.

Click Consult, as per standard practice, are keeping a close eye on our clients performance to see if this update is having an impact and will inform our clients accordingly should we see this.

The main points to remember regarding the update are:

  • Only affects the slowest mobile sites
  • Incremental improve to your site can make big impacts in speed
  • Fast sites that go faster won’t see a ranking improvement

Whilst there has been no official statement on how Google actually determines if a page is slow or not, they have confirmed that there are several key metrics to look at and that webmasters should look at the Chrome User Experience report, the Lighthouse tool and PageInsights tool for an idea of what might be worth focusing on.

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