On Monday, July 9th, Google issued an important Blog update regarding its highly anticipated “Speed Update.” This update, which has to do with the performance and speed of a web page on a mobile device, is now rolling out for all users.
The Google “Speed Update” was first announced in January of 2018. Google has been placing an increased emphasis on optimizing their search experience for mobile devices, as indicated by their mobile-first index earlier this year. Speed has been used as a ranking signal for a while, but it was focused on desktop searches only. Google wants to create a user experience that provides high-quality content as quickly and efficiently as possible, regardless of the device used to search.
According to Google, this update is purely algorithmic, and there is no official tool that will predict or gauge whether a page has been directly affected by the “Speed Update.” However, Google also said that only a small percentage of queries will be affected, and that this will only affect “pages that deliver the slowest experience to users.” The Google “Speed Update” will apply the same standard to all pages, regardless of the technology used to build it. And like all algo updates, Google has assured us that the intent of the search query is still one of the largest factors in the overall ranking, so slow pages may still rank highly if they contain relevant quality content.
We will be able to more accurately gauge the full effect of this update in the coming days and weeks, but webmasters must remember to keep user experience in mind. Make use of Chrome User Experience Reports, as well as other developer tools like Lighthouse and PageSpeed Insights to make sure that your pages don’t risk being penalized by the “Speed Update.”