Google has recently made some changes to its ranking factors, leaving many SEO experts wondering whether these factors were ever truly influential. Moreover, should we even be concerned about these changes? In this blog post, we’ll explore the updates and discuss their implications for your website and content strategy.
On April 21st, Google published an updated ranking systems guide, which interestingly coincided with Brighton SEO, the world’s largest SEO conference. Upon closer inspection, you’ll notice that page speed, mobile-friendliness, and HTTPS are no longer listed as ranking factors. Surprisingly, they’re not even mentioned in the retired section. You can check out the updated guide here: https://developers.google.com/search/docs/appearance/ranking-systems-guide
So, should you disregard these factors entirely? The short answer is no.
It’s essential to remember that your website and its content should always prioritise your customers. This isn’t a new concept. Google itself emphasises that your content should cater to visitors, not search engines. With this in mind, let’s consider the user experience implications of each “missing” factor:
- Page Speed: Do visitors prefer a fast or slow website? Unsurprisingly, they prefer a fast one. However, as I’ve mentioned in my previous guide to SEO, it’s not worth investing excessive time or money to shave off a few milliseconds from your load time. As long as your site loads reasonably quickly, it should satisfy your visitors.
- Mobile-friendliness: In today’s increasingly mobile-driven world, it’s crucial to ensure that your website is easily accessible and navigable on smartphones and tablets. Even if Google doesn’t mention mobile-friendliness, prioritising a seamless mobile experience can significantly enhance user satisfaction and engagement.
- HTTPS: While HTTPS (often called SLL certificate) may no longer be a direct ranking factor, it still plays a vital role in establishing trust with your visitors. A secure connection ensures the protection of sensitive data and fosters a sense of confidence in your website, which can ultimately contribute to improved user experience and retention.
In conclusion, while these factors may not be explicitly mentioned in Google’s updated ranking systems guide, they remain essential components of a user-centric website. Rather than chasing elusive ranking factors, focus on providing a seamless, engaging, and valuable experience for your visitors. By doing so, you’ll not only please your audience but also likely earn Google’s favour in the long run.