Google’s algorithm speed update and what you need to do
In its ongoing quest to optimise the web, Google is becoming increasingly focused on website speed and how quickly pages display when a viewer opens them in their browser.
Much of this is driven by web activity shifting more and more to mobile devices and the need to accommodate users who don’t have access to fast WiFi networks. It is of course, very important for Google to make web access as easy as possible for all users, as it is so crucial for driving their huge advertising revenues. So there is a also a huge commercial influence here and not just general good will!
Google has given relatively small SEO incentives for desk-top websites for a while now, but with web usage shifting so significantly to mobile devices, those incentives are now shifting to mobile optimised sites and in particular the mobile search index. Just for those who didn’t know, Google is now primarily using mobile versions of websites to build their primary search index, so it makes sense to start offering the speed incentives for SEO there too.
When will this happen?
It’s actually live now – as of July 2018. Google started to warn about this in January of this year and they have launched the new feature of their search algorithm on schedule.
What effects have been seen so far?
To be frank, the effects so far have been quite slight and indeed Google announced that the early implementation is only designed to tackle the slower pages they encounter. They also said that if a slow page is still very popular, then it will not be unduly penalised. However, don’t breathe a sigh of relief just yet! Google is well-known for implementing initiatives quite slowly and then ramping up over time, so it would be foolhardy to ignore this. The benefits (and penalties) are only likely to increase over time, so it pays to act now.
What should you do for your dental practice website?
If you haven’t done so already you should ask your web designer to start checking your site speed with a view to optimising it. If they are diligent and the site is relatively new, they should already have done this, but there are new improvement techniques coming along all the time, so it pays to check. In fact Google has published details of simple-to-use checking tools to allow you to benchmark your website speed and see how well it fares compared to their guidelines. It’s well worthwhile and even if you only gain a few percentage points advantage, then this could jump you above the competitor practice which is sat above you in the search results. And remember, the positive (and negative) effects are only likely to increase over time as we mentioned above!
Google recently rolled-out an update to its search algorithm aimed at promoting websites with fast-loading pages and potentially demoting those with slow pages. This is complementary to the similar initiative which has been around for a while and which affects the desk-top search index, but this time it is aimed at mobile versions of websites and the mobile search index. Whilst the early effects are said to be relatively small, the benefits are still well-worth having and can help you steal a lead in the competitive world of SEO. If you optimise now, you’ll also be in great shape for when Google ups the speed ante even further.
Optimising websites for SEO is a core element of our work here at Dental Media, so if you need help with your own site, please get in touch on 01332 672548. We’ll conduct a preliminary audit free-of-charge along with recommendations. It’s time to get up-to-speed!Google+