Google recently announced its “Speed Update” to mobile site search rankings. We’ve broken down the new algorithm update below and how this change may impact your website rankings.
What exactly is the “Speed Update”?
It’s a new algorithm for mobile search results that uses the speed of the mobile site as a search and keyword ranking factor. Google has always used the speed of a website in its search rankings for desktop users, so this change would apply just to the mobile version of your site.
Repeat: only mobile site rankings are affected.
So, how will this affect my website’s visibility on Google?
Google published in their webmaster blog that it will “only affect pages that deliver the slowest experience to users and will only affect a small percentage of queries.”
Remember that speed is just one of the ways that Google uses to rank pages. The intent of the search query is still a very strong factor, meaning that a slow page may still rank high if it is delivering great/relevant content.
Is there a way I can check my mobile site performance?
While Google doesn’t give a specific metric or tool to check, they do indicate that there are a couple of resources to measure page speed:
- 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
Does it matter how my site was built?
Google says that the same standard is applied to all pages, regardless of the technology used to build the page. What should I know going forward?
Don’t make the mobile site an afterthought after the desktop site is built!
Google is concerned with user experience, both on desktops and mobile devices. As users increasingly use their cellphones and tablets to access sites, developers need to make sure they are delivering a positive mobile user experience in all areas.
Gina Wanless is an Account Manager at Amplitude Digital. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.