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Google and WordPress: Now working together in the name of page speed

Thursday, February 8th, 2018

It appears that two of Silicon Valley’s best and brightest are joining forces. It was announced this week that Google and WordPress have established a partnership that aims to grow the development of both platforms. Google has selected a team of engineers that will oversee the way the two companies interact. In this Google and WordPress partnership, it appears the first front will be the mobile web. To quote Search Engine Land, “Google’s partnership with WordPress aims to jump-start the platform’s support of the latest web technologies — particularly those involving performance & mobile experience.” It also appears that the first factor in play will be speed.

This isn’t necessarily new for Google. As early as 2010, the search engine juggernaut was using page speed as a ranking factor for desktop searches. Fast forward eight years and speed is still at the forefront of Google’s minds. This time, however, they are looking at the mobile web. The company is working to add mobile page speed to its mobile search rankings. This will be in place by July 2018 and the page speed algorithm will seek to discredit pages that have the lowest page speed in a given search. All of this was foreshadowed by Google’s interest in the AMP project.

As we wrote back in November, AMP is an acronym that stands for Accelerated Mobile Pages. Characterized by a lightning bolt symbol, AMP pages load in mobile search queries. They are the output of the larger AMP Project, an open-source initiative that was started in 2015. It seeks to “make the web better for all” by both accelerating the load time and improving the quality of ads or pages we engage with online. In their words, “the project enables the creation of websites and ads that are consistently fast, beautiful and high-performing across devices and distribution platforms.”

Google was part of the launch of the project, perhaps the first moment of their fascination with mobile page speed. It also ties into the Google and WordPress partnership. The first news associated with the tandem broke this week and it also touched upon AMP pages. Yesterday, Google enlarged the image size and quality required for AMP pages. This may seem like only a minor change, but it is an important one for marketers to note as AMP pages that do not meet this requirement would not be shown in the “Top Stories” carousel. Obviously, that’s where you want your AMP pages to be so keep this change in mind.

Back to us here at ROI, page speed and AMP isn’t something that only concerns us on the pages of our blog. We’re constantly testing and tweaking our client’s page speed. We use Google’s PageSpeed insights to stay on top of this. We have also been implementing AMP pages on behalf of our clients for over a year now. We’ve been happy with what AMP pages brought to the table for our clients and are excited to see it evolve in the future. We’ll also keep an eye on how this Google and WordPress partnership continues to influence the mobile web.

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