Google’s next “Speed Update” in July 2018 will impact your Mobile Searches!

February 28, 2018

Google recently announced another change to its ever-evolving search ranking algorithm. Starting in July 2018, the new update will be using page speed as an official ranking factor for the mobile searches. Although Google has been using speed as a ranking factor on desktop since April 2010, yet it couldn’t become an official ranking factor in Google’s algorithm until now. On the contrary, having a fast-mobile site has always stood companies in good stead for ranking well in search.

As of July 1, Google will be penalizing sites that do not load according to the Google standard for mobile devices. In Google’s words, this update would impact only small percentage of queries because it aims to target only those “pages that deliver the slowest experience to users”. But considering Google processes around 3.5 billion search queries per day, a “small percentage” can amount to lot of websites.

Surprisingly, there is no such tool or notification which will tell Webmasters that their website is affected by the “Speed Update”. In addition, the update also doesn’t give all that much new information about how website owners should improve their sites in order to rank well. Google hasn’t given any benchmark by which webmasters can judge whether or not their site falls into the “slowest” category.

Our Recommendations would be to use tools like Page Speed Insights, Chrome User Experience Report etc. to evaluate your page’s performance. Also, it would be good to put in use Google’s initiatives like Accelerated Mobile Pages which will be a SEO ranking factor by 2019. AMP, a Google backed project is a way to potentially work with this update as it dramatically improves page speeds and provides instant load times. Google has confirmed it will use the AMP speed and not the canonical URL when determining the on-page speed for rankings.

Though this update focuses on improving speed and overall user experience but the previous algorithm which enhanced the relevancy will still be important. Content relevance still trumps speed. In Google’s words, “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.” So, the site owners need to pay attention to more than just page load time.

Since organic searches have always been very profitable to every business, it’s high time the site owners start focusing on improving their overall mobile UX and strengthen their mobile SEO to be on the right side of the speed update in July.



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