March 5, 2018 | By:

How Google’s Speed Update Affects Your SEO Ranking on Mobile Searches

Earlier this year, Google announced that page speed is now a key ranking factor for mobile searches. The “Speed Update,” as Google calls it, is set to be rolled out starting July 2018.

Although page load speed has been used as a ranking signal for quite some time, the previous algorithm focused more on desktop searches. As mobile internet usage continues to surge further in the coming years, mobile search is now more relevant than ever, and page speed is among the main factors for consideration in improving usability and mobile user experience.

 What you need to know about Google’s Speed Update

Google is pretty succinct in their announcement: The new algorithm change will only affect mobile pages that deliver the slowest load speeds. Google further iterated that the update will affect only a small percentage of mobile queries. And while some slow mobile pages will be affected, those whose content is relevant and of high quality will still thrive.

As of this writing, it is not clear yet whether slow-loading mobile pages will be penalized by Google. This means that if your website has already been optimized for mobile and you’ve passed Google’s mobile speed test, you probably don’t need to worry—for now.

However, it’s still worth taking a shot on implementing measures to further improve your site’s page load speed and prepare for the Speed Update as early as now.

What your business can do to improve mobile page load speed
1. Consider Accelerated Mobile Pages

Google’s Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) allows you to create web pages that load faster on mobile browsers. Although Google didn’t state that AMPs garner better ranking in their search results, or if the Speed Update will have anything to do with the AMP’s platform, creating AMP versions of your website could help in improving your mobile user experience.

To get started, check out AMP Project’s step-by-step guide on how to create AMP pages.

2. Optimize images for mobile

Unoptimized images, or those with large file sizes, often account for the heaviest elements in a website. A quick fix in improving your mobile site’s performance is to optimize your images so that fewer bytes of data are required to load the image.

You can use free online tools like TinyPNG and Optimizilla to compress file sizes without having to compromise image quality. You can also opt to use Image Quick’s convert binary to optimize your GIF and PNG images using Command Line codes.

3. Write strong, relevant content

Search query intent is still a very strong ranking signal, which is why Google specifically mentioned in their announcement that even slow-loading pages with high quality content can still rank well.

Continue prioritizing content marketing as one of the elements of your mobile marketing strategy, as content will always be king. It also helps to do keyword research using free tools like Google Trends and Google Keyword Planner to know which types of search queries your target market is using. Additionally, as mobile users are all for simplicity and speed, make it a point to keep a conversational tone in your web content.

4. Check your site’s usability

There are multiple ways to measure and evaluate your site’s page load speed and overall performance. You can leverage the following tools that Google is offering for free to get more detailed insights on your site’s usability:

  • Google Search Console – Its Mobile Usability Report tells you exactly which pages in your site have mobile usability issues, as well as providing you with resources on how to fix the problems found.
  • PageSpeed Insights – Uses Chrome UX Report to provide insights on your page’s performance and offers performance optimization suggestions.
  • Lighthouse – An automated tool for auditing the quality of web pages based on performance, accessibility, and other metrics

As we enter the golden age of mobile internet, it’s very likely that Google will focus much of their efforts on improving the overall mobile user experience. And with the impending implementation of their mobile-first index, expect more search engine algorithm changes that will further enforce mobile usability.

If you want to know more on how you can improve your website’s performance, or if you’re interested in working with our SEO experts, give us a call at 888-420-5115, or send us an email at [email protected].

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