We have recently seen a couple of significant algorithm updates which were not publicly announced or confirmed by Google. It is important to note that Google applies updates to its algorithm on a daily basis and most of them go relatively unnoticed. However, sometimes particular updates can cause the search results to noticeably shift the rankings for certain keywords.
Apart from those unconfirmed updates, the most interesting news last month was about the introduction of the new Speed report in Google Search Console (GSC). Google has been testing this new tool for the past six months and is now available for all websites.
It is listed under the Enhancements section but it is still in an experimental stage so it will likely change and improve over time.
There are two reports available, one for mobile and one for desktop.
The results are then broken down into three categories:
- Slow (longer than 3 seconds)
- Moderate (longer than 100ms)
Each category then list the specific URLs that fall in that category.
Interestingly it groups similar URLs, understanding that similar pages, for example blog pages, may all have a common theme contributing to the speed issue.
Why is this important?
Speed metrics have long been available in Google Analytics but the introduction of these reports in GSC is a further reflection of the current and growing importance of page load speeds for ranking purposes.
However, fast loading pages are not just beneficial from a ranking perspective; users are less likely to get frustrated with a website if the pages load quickly resulting in an increase in enquiries. Website visitors have little patience and often little loyalty. Improving the user experience is vital for good conversions.
SEO is a continuous process of refining pages, content, optimisation and authority whilst being relevant and useful for a given search query. A significant part of this process now is also the ongoing task of refining the pages to improve load speeds.
We have known for some time now that page load speed is a ranking factor for mobile results and the significance of it will increase over time. Working towards fast loading pages to create a great user experience is a key SEO factor going into 2020.
At Artemis, our team our highly experienced SEO professionals keep up-to-date with all of the changes Google rolls out so that our clients don’t have to. If you are interested in learning more about what we can offer, get in contact with our team today.