Posted on 18 Jul 2018 | Filed under SEO
By Sophie Lowe
Google has announced it is rolling out the Google Speed Update to all users which will impact the Mobile search rankings of the slowest sites on the internet.
The search engine giant announced at the start of the year that the speed at how quickly sites load would be considered as a ranking factor for all searches on smartphone. The aim is to provide a better user experience and help people find the pages that they are looking for faster than ever before.
Google said that will 'only affect a small percentage of queries' and that a 'slow page may still rank highly if it has great, relevant content', however, as of this month they have declared that the new Speed Update algorithm has been released to all users.
It is unclear how it plans to measure whether a page is faster enough but has suggested webmasters look at metrics from the Google Chrome User Experience report which 'provides user experience metrics for how real-world Chrome users experience popular destinations on the web'.
Google also recommends testing speed using its Lighthouse tool, an automated tool for improving the quality of web pages, and PageInsights tool which analyses the content of a web page and provides suggestions on how to make it faster by simply entering the URL.
PageInsights is not 100 per cent reliable and is sometimes unable to provide a Page Speed score (out of 100) and just lists an 'Optimisation' score. If this is the case, Google recommends 'thinking broadly about how performance affects a user’s experience of their page and to consider a variety of user experience metrics' and using the Lighthouse tool to 'evaluate the performance of a page'.
Google has been testing Desktop speed using the Desktop Index for some time and the new Google Speed Update is only relevant to Mobile search rankings which it promised to look at six months ago.
The search engine acknowledged that this update was based around evidence that suggested that the speed of a page is really important to internet users.
The Google Speed Update is completely algorithmic and there is no way of determing if a site has been affected by the new ranking factor unless it directly coincides with the timing of the change.