Internet users are all too familiar with slow websites, conjuring up painful dial-up flashbacks. It turns out that Google hates these slow websites as much as the users and wants to give owners of those slow-loading websites a little incentive to speed things up.
A site’s speed is now a factor in Google’s Search Engine Ranking Analysis. Google announced last weekend that they’ve been testing the site speed signal in its search engine ranking algorithm for the last two weeks.
What is site speed? Site speed is how quickly a website can respond to a web request.
Improving a site’s speed is not only beneficial to the owner but improves the users experience. Faster sites = happy users, according to internal studies conducted by Google. A faster site will ultimately benefit the website’s owner in two ways, better search engine rankings and a more efficient site that keeps users on-site rather than browsing to a competitor’s site.
While site speed is the latest variable in Google’s secret, volatile algorithm, site speed doesn’t carry as much weight as the relevance of the page. Content is still King. Google said fewer than 1 percent of search queries are affected by the site speed signal implementation. Site speed signal also only applies to visitors searching in English.
There are a few tools website owners can use to determine the speed of their site;
Page Speed – an open-source Firefox/Firebug add-on that webmasters and web developers can use to determine the performance of a web page and get suggestions on how to fix problems.
Yslow – a Firefox/Firebug add-on from Yahoo that analyzes pages and suggests ways to improve their performance.
Web Pagetest – A website performance tool that shows a waterfall view of your page’s load performance and optimization checklist.
Webmaster Tools – Google’s website performance tool views your site and diagnose problems.