Google has recently announced that it will start factoring in websites’ speed for showing search results on mobile devices from July 2018. It’s been named ‘Speed Update’.
This Kind of Measure Is Actually Not Entirely New
Those who are around the tech industry know that Google already rank websites with faster speed higher on its desktop search results. That move encouraged website owners to upgrade the speed of their websites for desktop users. With its success, Google is following the same route to bring that change for mobile users too. And with the growing number of smartphone users, currently at 2.32 billion, the tech giant is moving in the right direction.
Google’s Efforts for Enhancing Mobile Experience
And yet, this is not the first step taken by Google to promote better mobile user experience. In November 2014, Google showed its support for mobile experience by labeling “mobile-friendly” on sites in its search which were compatible and optimized for mobile users. Though, it was just a start as Google wasn’t lowering the ranking of sites which weren’t mobile friendly because this was used as a warning sign for website owners to put some of their energy in optimizing their sites for mobile traffic.
Finally, in May 2016, Google implemented mobile optimization of sites as a ranking factor, and the search engine started showing mobile friendly sites higher in the search results. However, the label “mobile-friendly’’ was removed as the strategy was a success.
Google is also working on various other mobile friendly projects like Accelerated Mobile Page (AMP) and mobile-first search index. The later was rolled out in December 2017, however, the former is still in development.
What Does It Mean for Website Owners?
If you are a website owner and you think your website’s speed is not competitive, there is time for you to fix that as the ‘Speed Update’ won’t be implemented till July 2018.
Moreover, there will be a lot of questions regarding how and to what extent a website’s ranking will rise or fall. Google puts it that way:
“The “Speed Update,” as we’re calling it, will only affect pages that deliver the slowest experience to users and will only affect a small percentage of queries. It applies the same standard to all pages, regardless of the technology used to build the page. The intent of the search query is still a very strong signal, so a slow page may still rank highly if it has great, relevant content.”
So, it is not forecasted that a website with authoritative content will see lower ranking if it’s speed is not optimal. On the other hand, if there is a website whose content and speed both are average, the ranking may be lowered in search results.
What you can do is to start working on making your website speedier and optimized for mobile users with your usual quality content, and your website will be safe and sound.
What is the difference between mobile and desktop SEO? Many businesses usually use the same approach for both. After all, since you already have desktop SEO efforts put in place, why will you do mobile SEO separately? Sadly, following this kind of approach might lead to dismal results. Desktop SEO and mobile SEO are two completely different entities, and because of their unique natures, you need to handle them differently as well.
Search Result Differences on Desktop and Mobile
Among the reasons that make mobile different from desktop is that search results for mobile appear on smartphones in a different way from those on desktop browser. For example, local results usually get more priority in mobile SEO. The result is that there is a higher chance for Google Places listings to appear higher in the mobile search results than they normally appear in desktop search results.
It means that if you are a local business, it is important to make sure that you optimize business and local listings. Depending on your situation, you might even find it essential to use geo-modified keywords. This technique, by comparison, can conflict with the conventional desktop SEO techniques.
Mobile sites also have different standards because of differing user experience. Google recently placed more importance on mobile friendly sites. When you opt to ignore these parameters, your site will suffer in its ranks in search results.
Keyword Use on Desktop and Mobile Searches
As for optimizing the text on desktop site, an SEO company will usually focus more on the use of keyword-rich content for communicating the relevance of the page to search engines. Search on mobile works in a different way. The truth is that most mobile users don’t even search with the use of keywords at all. Thanks to the rise of the mobile first search modes like Voice Search, mobile users don’t even have to go to Google or Yahoo home page for typing their query.
Effect of Search Engine Ranking Algorithms
The mobile searches make use of completely different algorithms for search engine ranking compared to desktop searches. The goal of these different algorithms is to provide better mobile user experience. It means that if you depend on tried and tested desktop SEO strategies that worked well for your desktop site in the past, chances are you don’t work nearly as well for your mobile site, if you do at all, because of these differences.
When it comes to mobile SEO, remember that intent is usually different in desktop search and mobile search. It is often related to the kinds of information the person looks for at a certain moment. Aside from the use of different keywords, mobile searchers will usually have totally different context when they enter search terms.
If you are still confused with the differences between desktop SEO and mobile SEO, and you have no idea how to handle these differences for your SEO strategies, the best thing to do is work with a professional SEO company that can help you in leverage the opportunities offered by desktop and mobile search alike.