When it’s ok to be fast

Google have recently announced a new element to ranking factors for websites – page load speed.

Currently page load speed is only a ranking factor on searches made through google.com although it will be rolled out across all counties and languages soon.

Page load speed will only be a small factor with less than 1% of search queries affected by site speed.

Google can measure the load speed of a website in a couple of ways. The first way will be how a website responds to the GoogleBot and the second method is how quickly site speed is recorded for users with the Google Toolbar installed on their computer.

To go with the announcement, Google has released an update to Google Webmaster Tools to include information about how quickly a website loads.

site_performance

This chart shows the webmaster how the page load speed has differed over the last 10 months to the most recent updated date. This may be over a month old depending on how often Google crawl the site.

Google also offer optimisation suggestions to pages on the site to help webmasters cut down the page load speed. For example:

Whilst this ranking factor may only be a very small element it is best to follow Google’s advice and optimise your site to load as quickly as possible as it may provide an extra edge over competitors but also it will help visitors who may access the site from a mobile device who can’t wait around for a page to load on a 3G or edge connection which would be slower than a broadband connection.

This article is taken from the April edition of the Interaction newsletter. In one of the articles, Dan Alderson wrote a piece about Google making page load speed a ranking factor.

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