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Google speed update - July 2018
Google recently announced that website speed would be an official ranking factor for mobile searches starting in July 2018 when a Speed Update will take place. This is probably the biggest news coming from Google this year addressed to SEO specialists.
Where is all this going?
The Google Speed update will focus on mobile search results and accordingly to Google will only affect a small number of keywords or search subjects.
What does this mean for SEO?
Nothing new for SEO specialists that already understand the importance of speed in SEO. Just keep in mind Google said speed was a factor for desktop web versions back in 2010, so this update isn't a surprise.
For the last few years, Google has made it abundantly clear that fast websites are a must if you desire organic traffic. In essence, after the Speed Update, some sites that are currently getting a lot of organic traffic but provide a prolonged loading experience, will find themselves penalized in Google's search results.
Some of the main actions Google took before this update into pushing website speed, and mobile speed to webmasters was:
I believe 2018 is the year when Google finally merges desktop based ranking factors with mobile factors, with mobile being the main point of relevance when it comes to rankings.
Giving the fact that Mobile first rankings aren't a far away from being implemented, it only makes sense that the Speed update in July will also impact desktop search queries eventually.
What about AMP?
Many of you may already implement AMP type pages. I certainly did this for most of my clients, I have recommended AMP to all my connections, and I've extended tested the effect of AMP on both the website's performance but also it's organic traffic benefits.
All the AMP users are in the clear when the July Speed Update hits; this is what Google officially stated. If you have a fully functional AMP page that usually loads without any significant problems, you are in the clear for when this update will hit.
So if you haven't implemented AMP, it is time to do it! AMP is here to stay, and the recent URL updates, excluding Google's domain from the AMP URL versions only confirms my suspicion that AMP isn't just another failed Google project.
How should you prepare?
As I said, the fastest and most simple way to prepare for this mobile speed update is to install and configure AMP.
If you don't want to use AMP or are unable to have this web version of your website, make sure you are in the clear as far as loading speed goes.
Test your website with Google Speed insights as well as Lighthouse. Push optimization and speed changes to your developers. Don't ignore this update because Google won't keep around slow loading websites for very long; this may be Google's last warnings on this matter, speed up or say goodbye to organic traffic.
I consider this update to be fair and natural. I personally prepared for this update for the past year or so and I'm continually working on fixing and improving my client's websites loading speed. Make sure you are also ready for the July 2018 update hits.
What do you think about this new announcement coming from Google regarding website loading speed as a ranking factor?