Algorithm Rolled Out: July 9th, 2018

Algorithm Summary: Overall Gist 

Since July 9th, Google has become increasingly fast and furious: Your future may be determined by how quickly your URLs load on mobile devices, which is now one of the company’s ranking determinants. It means that pages that take too long to load on mobile devices can expect to lose mobile rankings to websites that load faster and provide a better user experience. Continue reading for more information, insights into the load times of page rankings, and, as a bonus, data on using AMP for lightning-fast pages.

google speed update

As with “Mobilegeddon,” Google’s forewarning appears to be targeted more at urging users to make the web more mobile-friendly than penalizing scofflaws.

Of course, load time is already factored into Google’s algorithms and was validated as a ranking indication in 2010. However, that news was mostly about desktop site speed and ranking calculation. When discussing the “Speed Update,” Google emphasizes that it will only affect a small portion of search queries and will only (negatively) affect the slowest pages. Of course, load time is still “just” one of several hundred ranking elements used by Google to determine its rankings.

Simply put, a slow page can earn high rankings if its content is more relevant than its competitors and if it is best positioned to satisfy user intent, which is what Google prioritizes when producing search results.

Finally, there is a renewed emphasis on the importance of speed.

Google’s Speed Update demonstrates the significance it places on the mobile web, particularly its value on user experience. The addition of mobile load speed as official ranking criteria follows in the footsteps of the “Mobilegeddon” update as another means of pushing the development of the mobile web. If web admins want to rank towards the top of search results, they must optimize the mobile versions of their pages. Google likes to see top-ranking mobile pages load in under three seconds, even on poorer internet connections.

Pages ranked in the top 15 places load this quickly on average, with competition especially severe among the top 5. If the average is just about quick enough, many pages are still behind. In general, web admins should benefit from the Google Speed Update if they currently rank in positions 6 to 10 and have a faster-loading page than the competition—this could help them overtake slower-loading URLs above them—provided, of course, that they offer the most relevant content to try to serve the user’s intent.

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