Going Slow Can Now Hurt Your Business
The other day, Google announced that a website’s speed will now be calculated in figuring out how to rank websites. Site speed reflects how quickly a website responds to web requests. Basically, how fast it loads all the pieces that make a web page: images, scripts, database calls, flash, etc. Google has given you a license to now SPEED, so use it.
Google feels that speeding up websites is important, not only to site owners but also to all users of the Internet. Faster sites create happy users, and happy users are more likely to spend more time on your site. That could mean a better ROI for your site.
There are free tools that you can use to evaluate the speed of your website. They include:
- Page Speed. This is an open source add-on for Firefox users that evaluates the performance of web pages and gives some suggestions for improvement.
- YSlow is a free tool from Yahoo! that suggests ways to improve a website’s speed.
- WebPage Test shows a waterfall view of your website’s pages’ load performance plus an optimization list.
- Other tools are available at code.google.com/speed
While a fast loading site will definately help your ranking on Google, it still is not the most important factor in Google’s search ranking algorithm. The most important is still the relevance of a page. Currently, less than 1% of search queries are affected by the site’s speed. Google has been testing checking a website’s speed for several months and actually launched this change to their search ranking algorithm several weeks ago. If you haven’t seen a change so far in your rankings, than your website may not have a speed issue.
If you have any doubts, let a professional, like us, do a thorough check of your site to see where you can improve in the search rankings.