Google Search: Optimization Over Speed

The Google Speed update began rolling out earlier this month, but after analyzing 33,500 keywords and 1 million pages of search results, analysts at SEO PowerSuite could not identify any noticeable impact on the ranking of mobile pages in Google search results. Instead, they noticed something else.

SEO PowerSuite’s first round of experiments ran in April 2018, prior to Google’s update, to track the correlation between page speed and the position in mobile SERPs. At that time the company discovered that a page's average Page Speed Optimization Score had a significant correlation (0.97) to its position in the search engine results pages, but FCP (First Contentful Paint) and DCL (DOM Content Loaded) did not, according to the blog post.

The test was repeated a week after Google announced the start of the update.

From July 14 through July 16, 2018, analysts looked at 30 positions in mobile SERPs for the 33,500 queries to get a list of 1,000,000 URLs. For each URL, Optimization Score, Median FCP, and Median DCL were collected. About 1,000,000 rows of data to were analyzed.

“The keywords, randomly taken from the Russ Jones and Grepwords keyword list of top high paying CPC, AdWords and AdSense keywords, cover a wide range of query categories,” according to the post.

The findings get a bit geeky, but overall it’s about optimization, per the post. It’s about improving the performance of web pages. For three months only, an average web page, ranking on positions from one to 30 in mobile search improved by 0.83 Optimization Score points.

The correlation between the position in mobile SERPs and the average Optimization Score remains extremely high: 0.97. This provides support to the previous statement: working on your Optimization Score is crucial.

Any finally, per the findings, there is no correlation between the position in the mobile SERPs and the median FCP/DCL metrics. The growth of average FCP/DCL metrics before and after the Page Speed Update has been minor: 0.030 seconds and 0.028 seconds, respectively.

Thus, there has hardly been any impact on search results a week after the Page Speed Update.

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