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Recently, we wrote about Google’s last major update – “Fred” – which took place in March 2017. We know that Google makes hundreds of minor changes to its search algorithm each year, but major updates are far more sporadic, and, far more consequential.  This July, Google is launching a new ranking algorithm designed for mobile search – “Speed Update.” Let’s take a closer look and what this update is, and how the new ranking criteria might affect your mobile site.

What is The Google Speed Update?

The clue is in the name. Speed. From July, slow loading sites will be penalised, appearing down the list of Google results on mobile devices. According to Google’s  Zhiheng Wang and Doantam Phan

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.

No changes have been announced for desktop (yet), but then again page speed has always been a ranking factor on desktop.

Will Your Site be Affected?

Do you know how long it takes your site to load on a mobile device? If you don’t, you need to find out. While Google has confirmed that only the slowest ranking sites will be affected, there’s no exact metric to work with. In addition, many Australian websites are slow to adopt change and are notoriously slow. GMG digital recently tested the speed of  thousands of Australian websites and found:

“…the majority are far below the industry averages, both globally and nationally.”

With no way of knowing how slow is too slow, it’s never been more important to start improving your page load times as much as possible. The good news is that other SEO factors are still important, so as always, if your website is delivering a good user experience, has highly relevant content, and a sound off-page SEO strategy, a small tweak to load speeds should prevent your site dropping down the organic ranking results.

What Can You Do To Prepare?

Unlike most of their updates, Google has given us plenty of advance warning. Therefore, if you have concerns about your site’s performance, NOW is the time to check load times and make the necessary changes. Don’t know where to start? Contact Webics. We can give you an insight into your website’s current performance and develop an SEO strategy to improve your mobile page speed and your organic search results.

 

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