As of July 9th, 2018, Google has officially announced that page speed is now a ranking factor in Google. Of course, Google is referring to this new update as the “Speed Update” and made it known that it will be in effect world-wide.
Just in Time
Google actually announced that this update was going to “hit the pages” in January, stating that the release date was set for sometime in July. Because of this announcement, it wasn’t really a surprise to anyone…..that is, anyone who was keeping up with Google updates. If you weren’t prepared for this, we suggest you start speeding those websites up somehow!
Hasn’t Speed Always Been a Ranking Factor?
It might not seem like that big of a deal, though. I mean after all, hasn’t speed always been a ranking factor? The answer is yes, but also no. It’s been a ranking factor for awhile, but only in desktop searches. This particular update is focused on searches made on a mobile device.
How Slow is Too Slow? Will My Site Still Rank?
Google has made it pretty clear that this update won’t really affect that many sites. If your site isn’t noticeably slower than a competitors site on a mobile device, you aren’t going to lose your rank over it. However, if your site is very slow…..as in, users are waiting for quite a bit of time on your site to load completely in their browser, that could affect your ranking in a negative way. It won’t keep your site from ranking altogether, but most likely, if your site is slow enough, you’ll notice the difference.
Relevancy on Your Site is the Real Secret
While page speed does matter, it’s not everything. Not even close! Your site can be lightning fast, but without relevant content and a compelling site design, you won’t keep users and you certainly won’t win a top spot in Google.
If you want to make Google happy, focus less on the overall speed of your site, (although you want to make sure it’s not driving people away slow), and focus more on the relevancy of your site. Put yourself in the shoes of the people looking for and visiting your site. If you didn’t have any invested interest in the overall outcome of your site, would you stick around? What kinds of information and images would it take to get you to stay on the site, take a look around and maybe even make a purchase or just recommend the site to a friend?
When it comes to ranking well in Google and keeping customers and visitors happy, relevancy is the real secret ingredient. There is no “magic formula” but good content is where it begins, that we’ll guarantee.
While this update is exciting and paves the way for more innovative updates and experiences with Google, it is easy to get stuck wondering whether or not your site is going to be ranking well afterwards. But like we said, don’t sweat it. Turns out, what really matters to Google is relevant content and site design. If your site is running faster than a snail being chased, you’re probably safe.