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Google: Site Speed Live as a Ranking Factor



Last December, Google publicly announced a new ranking factor: site speed. Today, Google announces that site speed has joined the 200+ other ranking factors in their algorithm.

However, not all sites will be affected. In the blog post, Amit Singhal, Google Fellow, and Matt Cutts, Principal Engineer, Google Search Quality Team (you’ve heard of them?), say that the change has actually been in place for “several weeks,” and isn’t even that widespread:

Currently, fewer than 1% of search queries are affected by the site speed signal in our implementation and the signal for site speed only applies for visitors searching in English on Google.com at this point. We launched this change a few weeks back after rigorous testing. If you haven’t seen much change to your site rankings, then this site speed change possibly did not impact your site.

According to Matt McGhee at Search Engine Land,

there are two primary ways Google will measure page speed:

1. How a page responds to Googlebot
2. Load time as measured by the Google Toolbar

You can check on your site speed in Google’s Webmaster Tools, under Labs > Site performance, and Google points to several other resources to work on your site speed:

  • Page Speed, an open source Firefox/Firebug add-on that evaluates the performance of web pages and gives suggestions for improvement.
  • YSlow, a free tool from Yahoo! that suggests ways to improve website speed.
  • WebPagetest shows a waterfall view of your pages’ load performance plus an optimization checklist.
  • Many other tools on code.google.com/speed.

Google emphasizes that page speed won’t trump actual relevance.

What do you think? Is this a good move for ranking?

  • Phil Diou

    This is a good move for many reasons. Early last year, our company went through an exercise of speeding up our three sites – one supports our retail chain the other are ‘standard’ ecommerce. This exercise was lead by our marketing department who did a lot of research on competitive edges around conversion, sales process, and profile sign-up: increasing our page load time was one of the goals they identified – surprisingly it turned out to be the best performing change. My role was to identify the best way to achieve this and setup processes to measure outcomes. I selected a website accelerator from Aptimize and the results have been nothing short of amazing from day one.

    From my perspective our data transfer costs decreased by 22% overnight (significant cost saving), page views, sales. profile sign-ups, repeat visits, user satisfaction, offer alert sign-up, through-put at busy periods have all increased from 12-33%. Whatever Google’s motivation in taking this step is, who knows, but there are serious benefits to your site, business, and customers if you increase the load speed of your pages. And the best thing ever is that it gave me the excuse to get rid of flash from our site – that was a happy day.

  • http://www.microedge.co.uk Steve, The website designer

    Yes. I have found that good schematic XHTML/CSS websites built using web standards to control both layout and design perform much better in the search engines than sites that are code soup which is a word I use for sites full of unecessary Javascript and session requests.
    .-= Steve, The website designer´s last blog ..Build a successful business online =-.

  • http://www.squidoo.com/massagemania lucystone

    This looks freaking awesome!

    http://www.squidoo.com/massagemania
    .-= lucystone´s last blog ..Hot Stone Massage updated Tue Apr 6 2010 2:40 pm CDT =-.

  • http://drivingonlinesales.com/ Wynne

    It’s about time that webmasters were made responsible to ensure that their sites are running at maximum speed. There are so many factors that can be optimized and so many caching options now that slow sites are not acceptable anymore.
    .-= Wynne´s last blog ..Why do Local Businesses Still Insist on Using the Yellow Pages for Marketing =-.

  • http://www.findmaster.com/case_studies/vancouver_search_engine_marketing.68.html Forgot My Real Name

    About time I say. Some of the websites are way to big and take forever to load. Seems like faster the internet connection is bigger the website is. Look at Google web properties, each website they own has their logo and maybe link to a video on youtube. otherwise it’s all plain simple text with links.

  • http://webstarts.com Dayne

    This is great news for everyone. Every time Google makes a big change, the Internet gets a little bit better!

  • Arrive2.net

    It is essential for webmasters to stay up to date on these developments in order for their website to stay competitive, so Marketing Pilgrim is doing a good service by providing this info. Since Google is the leader in search engines, actions taken by Google could influence other search engines as well … so the application of speed to search engine algorithms could become widespread. However, since there are 200 total factors in the algorithm it is tough to say how much weight this factor should have. Never the less, no webmaster will want to be held back by this factor. Google devising and applying this factor provides webmaster with a reason that the speed and adequacy of internet servers should be a priority. Where a website in on a hosting service, it emphasizes why the speed the hosting service provides should kept high. This factor provides an incentive for websites to emphasize speed, so it could produce a net increase in average website speed across the whole internet.