Google has incorporated the speed of a web page into its search engine rankings. While
this new signal currently affects only a small percentage of US sites, Google's announcement officially links performance with search engine marketing. Google has long used various factors, including page load speed, in its quality scores of PPC landing pages. Now Google has incorporated page loading speed into its search engine rankings. Google announced this new signal in their official Webmaster Central blog:
"Speeding up websites is important - not just to site owners, but to all Internet users. Faster sites create happy users and we've seen in our internal studies that when a site responds slowly, visitors spend less time there. But faster sites don't just improve user experience; recent data shows that improving site speed also reduces operating costs. Like us, our users place a lot of value in speed - that's why we've decided to take site speed into account in our search rankings. We use a variety of sources to determine the speed of a site relative to other sites."
Google has long used various factors, including page load speed, in its quality scores of PPC landing pages. Now Google has incorporated page loading speed into its search engine rankings. Google announced this new signal in their official Webmaster Central blog:
While not currently as strong a signal than inlinks and page relevance, the new Page Speed signal should be taken into account when designing websites This is great news for the usability of the Web and for user satisfaction. Google incorporates more than 200 signals into its search engine ranking algorithm, and the page speed signal now more concretely bridges the gap between the psychology of performance and search engine marketing.
Research has shown that the speed of a website affects a number of measurable usability factors including:
Even in this era of widespread broadband, slow web sites still frustrate users. The average web page more than tripled in the 5 years from 2003 to 2008 from 93.7K to 312K in total size. An upcoming survey will show the trend continuing at a similar rate. We have seen home pages in excess of 4 to 10 MB in file size with hundreds of objects! Even on a broadband connection these fat and complex web pages will tax the attention thresholds of users.
The average number of objects has grown from 25.7 to 49.9 during the same 5 year time period with no signs of slowing down. Object overhead now dominates page load delays in this era of higher speed connections.
Search Engine Land reported that Google will measure the speed of a page in two ways:
Google has long been an advocate of website performance, in fact they provide an entire section of their site devoted to Speeding Up the Web. Their Page Speed tool, spearheaded by Steve Souders (who also was integral in Yahoo's Yslow performance tool) incorporates the best practices his team found and he detailed in his two books (High Performance Web Sites, and Even Faster Web Sites, both from O'Reilly). Google included site performance in its webmaster tools in December 2009.
Google's announcement of adding a page speed signal into its search rankings algorithm will in the long run help reduce user frustration with slow web sites. It is well established that the loading speed of a web page affects user psychology in a number of ways, and now it can effect its rankings as well. The Page Speed signal now concretely links user psychology with search engine marketing.
By website optimization on 11 Apr 2010 PM