Google Search to give priority rankings to pages that load faster in mobile

Attention: Clients with active website and web application projects, Google Search will give priority rankings to pages that load faster in mobile

Why this is important: Beginning in 2010, Google started to place more importance on website speed as a potential factor influencing search ranking algorithms. Developments have continued as such that, starting in July, page speed will be a ranking factor for mobile searches on Google. 

These changes will affect small firms and big corporations alike, as all will have to update their websites to avoid potential search ranking drops. Check out these Google PageSpeed Insights on AppleDeloitteGoldman Sachs, and GE to illustrate the point.

What can we do to be prepared? During the development process, RubensteinTech takes several important steps—including image optimization, lazy loading, and regular code optimization reviews—to ensure that your website loads quickly across all supported devices. However, as technology evolves and computing power and browser capabilities improve, site optimizations ensure that websites will get faster every day.

As such, the number one thing you can do to speed up your website is: ensure that all images you post to the site are web-optimized. Solutions like RubyContent and RubyLaw already optimize images for mobile delivery in an automated fashion, but sometimes manual review and intervention is required.

We recommend a full site speed test scan to ensure that your website is optimized. Google’s PageSpeed Insights, a website speed test evaluation tool, is a freely available tool that you may use to analyze your site. However, it’s important to note that for most sites, a perfect score isn’t realistic, and not every result in this report must be addressed. (See the examples of Apple, Deloitte, etc., above.) With speed optimization initiatives, there is a clear point where increased effort leads to diminishing returns. It’s also important to note that Google provides this tool for guidance, but has also stated that that there is no metric that directly indicates whether a page will be affected by this new ranking factor.

What action will RubensteinTech take and when? RubensteinTech can recommend a set of optimizations specific to your website to reduce the potential negative impact of Google’s update. We recommend a thorough quality assurance (QA) scan of your site to ensure that any issues are proactively identified and addressed. (The Google PageSpeed Insights tool is a great tool for identifying potential issues, but should not be the only tool used to evaluate your website.) Current clients may elect for us to perform this review under your existing maintenance agreement. Once we complete the scanning process, we will provide your team with a list of identified issues as well as estimates for resolving them.

Our timeline for implementation would depend upon factors including issues uncovered by the QA review, severity of the issues, etc.

What happens if we do nothing? If you don’t take any steps to address the mobile speed of your website, it’s possible that your site will fall in Google’s organic search rankings for mobile search results over time—particularly if it has slow-loading content on mobile. There will be no direct impact on your existing website, but you may notice a drop in website visitors in your analytics.

Continuing to be proactive. Further to the above, Google has announced that starting in July 2018 Chrome will require sites to be Hyper Text Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS) to avoid security warnings from displaying. Any sites that are not HTTPS and are HTTP will be marked as “not secure” by Google’s Chrome browser.

If you are unsure if or how this affects your site, rest assured that your RubensteinTech team will be reaching out to offer assistance ahead of this Chrome release.

For more information on this matter, please visit the following:
Google Webmaster Central Blog
Google Security Blog
Search Engine Land (1 of 2)
Search Engine Land (2 of 2)