Google has recently announced that a new speed ranking algorithm for mobile searches will be introduced in July 2018. This change will mean that the loading time of mobile website pages will become a ranking factor in mobile searches. Within the world of SEO, any change to the Google algorithm causes a certain amount of panic among SEO specialists. Fortunately Google has tried to minimize worries about this latest update by stating that it will only impact the search rankings of really slow mobile pages. But why is Google doing this now and what effect will it have on your website and SEO campaign?
Why is Google introducing this algorithm change?
Google has always indicated that having a fast website is important in order to perform well in searches and indeed in 2010 it introduced a website speed ranking factor for desktop searches. This latest change is to even things up and apply a speed ranking factor to mobile searches too.
What impact will this have on my website rankings and SEO campaign?
As SEO specialists we have known for a number of years that improving the desktop speed of a website helps improve Google rankings. As well as this, we know that a website that loads quickly has higher customer satisfaction and retention rates. In fact, a recent study found that 40% of people will abandon a site that takes longer than 3 seconds to load. How many local businesses can afford to throw away that amount of traffic! This is why when Alba SEO Services perform an SEO audit of a new business, website speed is always tested and included as part of our report. If any issues are uncovered, we will always suggest ways to help improve or resolve these as part of our SEO strategy.
We also know that more and more people are using their mobile phone to browse and search online. Ignoring this type of traffic is not an option if a business wants to survive in today’s market. This is why any change to a Google algorithm that affects mobile searches must be taken seriously.
At this stage it is not clear exactly how big an impact this change will have on rankings. Confusingly, Google has said that mobile web pages with highly relevant, quality content will still rank well even if they are slow to load. You can therefore choose to do nothing and wait and see if your website is affected or leave nothing to chance and ensure your website is optimized for mobile use now.
How do I optimize my website for mobile SEO?
Ensure your website is designed for mobile and desktop use
Evaluate your website mobile pages performance
The following tools can be used to test the speed and performance of your website
All these tools work in slightly different ways but will highlight any issues with your website and provide recommendations on improvements that can be made
Use AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages)
AMP is an initiative supported by companies such as Google and Twitter. Its aim is to make website pages load quickly on mobile devices. Creating brand new AMP versions of all your landing pages would result in almost instantaneous loading times. Naturally this would greatly improve your mobile user experience but would mean getting your website developer involved to code new pages. If that seems like a step too far but you still have a real problem with mobile site speed you could consider installing an AMP plugin on your website. These plugins are constantly being developed to iron out bugs and add new features. Here are some AMP Plugins you might want to consider.
Should I wait and see if my website is affected?
As mentioned earlier, it is still too soon to know the exact impact that this algorithm update will have on website rankings. You can therefore wait until July and see if your website rankings are affected or you can be proactive and start making improvements to your mobile site now. However, it should also be remembered that the number of searches carried out using smart phones/tablets has now overtaken the number of desktop PC searches and it is still growing. This means that if you want to attract more mobile traffic, a website that provides a good user experience on a mobile device is essential right now. For this reason, even without this latest Google update, Alba SEO Services always recommends that businesses ensure that their websites are optimized for both mobile and desktop users.