Site Speed Tips for When Google Uses That as a Ranking Factor

Worried About Page Speed Affecting Search Rankings? Pay Attention.

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Last year, Google’s Matt Cutts dropped the bomb (to put it in the exaggerated tone that many took the news in), that Google was considering taking site speed into consideration as one of many potential ranking factors for search results.

Is your site’s performance up to snuff? Comment here.

This of course freaked a lot of people out, but as Matt and Google as a whole has maintained, this would not trump relevance. It would be taken more into consideration when there are two sites of relatively equal relevance, but one site loads faster and delivers a better user experience. Matt reiterated this point in an interview we did with him this week at SMX.

WebProNews also chatted with Maile Ohye, Senior Developer Programs Engineer for Google at SMX, about website performance (speed), how that pertains to search rankings and the user experience, and some tips for making sure your site is up to speed, so to speak.

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As far as site speed as a ranking factor, Ohye pretty much makes the same point as Cutts, and it’s probably not going to be something where all of a sudden all of the faster sites are ranking better and the slower ones are doing worse. But it does enhance the user experience, and she refers to a study that found that an optimized site actually increased conversions by 16%. So if you’re not optimizing your site’s performance for Google, maybe that’s a good enough reason on its own.

Watch the video to get some specific advice regarding some simple adjustments you can make to your site that can make a big difference.

If you’re one of those freaking out about getting your site performance optimized, you may feel better after hearing what she has to say, and realize that it might not be as big a deal as you thought.

By the way, Cutts also mentioned that the speed thing is completly independent of Caffeine.

Do you think site performance is a manageable attribute of your search engine marketing strategy? Discuss here.

Site Speed Tips for When Google Uses That as a Ranking Factor
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  • http://nostatus.com btard

    i think they said that content was more important but if speed was an issue and content importance was equal that they’d favor the faster site :)

    this will hurt smaller people who compete against larger entities, those who can’t spend the money to be faster than their giant counterparts. sounds a little unfair, david and goliath part 2?

    • http://gnampf.blogspot.com/ Bernd

      Do have your smaller people the money to create all the bells and whistles for their site which slow them down?

  • DJ

    If site configured on servers in india and the google’s server in usa…. can it slow down sites speed for the crawler? can it affect for the site owners?

  • http://www.elimueller.com Eli Mueller

    Search engines are growing more adaptive to the fundamental usability requirements of human users. Google, in my option, just sets the bar. I doubt anybody reading this will need any more evidence to convince them, but a related article links poor site performance to psychological issues.


    Powerful stuff.

  • http://www.introspectrum.com Website performance

    Slow web sites not only decrease conversions, but actively drive customers to your competitors. According to data recently released by Akamai, 40% of consumers won’t wait more than 3 seconds for a web page to load before leaving the site. And when they go, it’s right to an alternative site.

    Also, thanks to this report, we have specific numbers – half of all internet customers expect pages to load in under 2 seconds.


  • http://www.jnbwebpromotion.com.au SEO services Sydney

    Well done sites always benefits all of us.

  • http://www.livetrainingsession.com/training/fireworksr.html Fireworks Training Online

    Though site relevance is on top of the list when it comes to parameters determining the site ranking, it’s fair to assume that user experience is equally important. Bounce rates can be tied to both relevance and user experience (or lack thereof). If a website loads too slowly there is a higher chance for the use to hit the back button and that can be interpreted by Search Engines in different bad ways. Fast loading sites should be rewarded for providing a better user-experience.

  • http://www.merlinsltd.com Guest

    If you’re not optimizing your site’s performance for Google, maybe that’s a good enough reason on its own

  • http://www.szonyegtisztitas.com Sz?nyegtiszt

    From my experience if readers do not receive the desired information as quickly as possible they tend to move on to other sites. Higher bounce rate leads to lower ranking. It is that simple.

  • http://www.barkingspiderspoetry.com CJ heck

    Admittedly, I don’t know much about Caching and Search Engine Optimization … and therein lies the problem. Why doesn’t Google publish a list of what it is that they DO look for in a website to assure that it’s properly and timely cached and gets a fair placement in their search rankings list?
    CJ Heck

  • http://www.pedicure-tine.be Guest

    I think that fresh content is still the better choice. Not too much images and flash objects and rich fresh content.

  • Peter

    True linkbuilders never spam sites like this with no-follow attribute.

  • http://www.worldtravelingartist.com Alexander

    They were.

  • http://www.jotwani.com Harpreet

    I am not sure if weightage should be given on the basis of site speed. Our experience has shown that relevance based search is more important. You may visit http://jotwani.com to seek more information about relevance search, but I would like my search to throw up relevant results to my queries rather than give results based on the site speed. There is also a danger that searches will results in favor of certain platforms or technologies and the way sites are being hosted.

  • http://www.fixpcfreeze.com Fix PC Freeze

    If I have the latest PC and was surfing the net, I would like to be taken to sites that load fast. The money I spent on my PC is of no use if I have to wait for a page with 300 kb of useless pics and data to load. It is time people making web pages realize that people coming to their sites are busy and want to see and read rather than wait like ten years back in the era of dial-up internet. They all need to take lessons on how to reduce the file size of graphics and videos with the myriad of software available. Google is doing it for the good of the user and going by what you say “a 16% more conversion” it is time to take page loading times to be taken seriously by webmasters.

  • http://www.simple-elegant-websites.com/ Oiseaux

    Did the chap being interviewed actually say anything that was worth listening too. It all sounded like a lot of meaningless business bullshit to me.

  • http://www.accesslovepianosongs.com rocky johnson

    Hey I’m Rocky! If you want a good speed you can try shrinking your photos down alittle bit with a program from: Download.com.

  • http://SocialMediaSEO.net Social Media SEO

    I have found that one of the biggest ways I’ve increased my site speed is by removing unnecessary plugins and html instances. Since I have a WordPress blog, going overboard with plugins is very easy to do.

    You have to realize that each plugin creates a new instance of HTML that needs to be called from the server. The more “instances” the more time it takes to load them all, and thus slowing down your site.

    I basically scrubbed my site of all unnecessary HTML instances and have increased my site speed by over 300%.

    One of the other elements I removed to contribute to increasing my site speed was the Meebo toolbar. The Meebo toolbar was a huge consumer of my website speed which means it simply had to go.

    You can check out my site at http://SocialMediaSEO.net

    Hope these tips helped any of you using a WordPress blog.

  • http://anewtattoo.com tom g

    I always try to have my sites load as fast as possible. It presents a better exp. for visitors.

  • http://www.hostingem.com cheap windows hosting

    i dont find anything relavant when u say speed will set the rank .

  • Bob

    The main reason people freak out over this topic would appear to be because most SEO companies do not know anything about writing correct code for the Internet. You need to know HTML/XHTML in order to accomplish this.

    W3C comes to mind in writing code. Here is their link: http://validator.w3.org/ It is possible to have a Flash site if the code is written correctly. Besides, if the code on your site is incorrect, that means the web browsers have to “guess” at what is on the web site. That result would be: what I am seeing on my computer monitor, will be different from what you see on your monitor, when looking at the same web site. Use the link to see how many errors are on your web site. Most web sites I view and work on have hundreds of errors on their pages.

    Target was sued and lost a multi-million dollar lawsuit (2007-2008) because of errors on their web pages. It is the Law-of-the-Land and there isn’t any appeal to a law suit of this nature. Besides, who wants their web page to look different from what they think it should look like?

  • johnius

    You need see this http://magazine.joomag.com/World_Top_100_Beautiful_Places/158

  • http://netclick.gr Kostas Skliris

    I use Firebug to improve my site speed. It gives a lot of advice and I recommend it to everyone

  • http://www.dinstartside.no Din startside

    If you optimize the website, ppl might consider to use it more often. The codes are def more important than some ppl believe..

  • janice

    Is it just me? You mention that you chatted to Maile Ohye and to:

    Watch the video to get some specific advice regarding some simple adjustments you can make to your site that can make a big difference.

    But the video is of Steve Balmer not Maile Ohye?

  • http://www.goldduo.com victor

    It does not really cost that much to speed up a site. According to Firebug, we have increased our site speed to the highest number we have seen compared to the “giant counterparts.” It just take a few hours of work and a dedicated server which makes things a lot easier.

  • http://www.goldduo.com Gold Duo

    Firebug however shows contrary numbers compared to Google site performance though.
    According to Firebug, our page speed score was up to 90/100 while google site performance shows 2.3 seconds load time which is faster than 62% of the sites only! It once was 0.2 second load time while firebug was at 80/100. The more we improve based on Firebug, the longer load time we get from google webmaster! what gives?

  • http://www.neutrinobomb.com Guest

    Reduce text to increase site speed. Relevance and importance to world affairs is most important in ranking factor and not other money making stuff. A site which keeps LOADING is most irritating and even if it ranks 10/10 ,is discarded . Text is not read by anyone on the net. Reduce it to few lines.

  • web-boy

    If they consider speed also as a source to rank pages then it would be very dificult for bloggers like me to gain page ranks. When we check in alexa it says the page loading time is 51%. Even adding a small html codes slowers my simple blog layout. Check out My blog – mohdshanz.blogspot.com

  • http://sicluli.blogspot.com/ Sicluli

    I hope my page can load hight fast,,

  • http://realdealpokernet.com/ realdeal net blogger

    it’s amazing how much real, quality information you can pick up just looking through peoples comments here. I read about site speed being a factor in SEO elsewhere and have tried to takedownload speed into account where i am able.

    From my point of view its just another factor that youreally have to deal with if you want your net results to improve.

  • http://www.linkedin.com/in/kschachinger Kristine S

    Actually I will disagree about it giving bigger companies the advantage. Larger companies are usually mired down in policy, procedures, executives who do not ‘get it’, and IT departments that have lost their flexibility. Plus large sites are a much greater undertaking. Smaller sites in contrast, are usually able to be more fast and flexible and their sites able to be overhauled more quickly.

    As Website Strategist and someone who concentrates on creating fast, scalable sites I can tell you the smaller clients are always able to get it done much more quickly.

    Thanks for listening!

  • http://www.newtampaseo.com Tampa Internet Marketing

    As someone trying to help small businesses, I see both good and bad with this one, but I do understand the direction. With many – if not most – switching to some type of Content Management System for a website, which I feel is a good idea, these sites tend to run significantly slower than static sites. So, clearly something must be done, if only to make sure that webmasters take the proper time to optimize load times as much as they optimize SEO Strategy. While, of course, the resource requirements give the advantage to those with more resources, this is no different than anything else. I certainly would be more please if each #1 ranking website loaded quickly…

  • Brian

    I’m not seeing a video with Matt Cutts here. The one I see is with Steve Ballmer and Danny Sullivan.

    • Guest

      The interview provided is now with Matt Cutts, yesterday it was Steve Balmer – wasn’t it meant to be with Maile Ohye? “WebProNews also chatted with Maile Ohye”

  • http://www.glowgolf.com.au Guest

    This actually makes perfect sense, not just from Googles point of view but for every webmaster, because ultimately faster web speed means fewer bytes means less storage means less processing power means less power needed to run the computers means more experimentally friendly and a better user experience. as as for “btard” comment of David and Goliath, this is always going to be the case due to the fact that big corporations have more money and hence can spend on bigger/better/faster products, this has been and always will be the case.

    • http://www.glowgolf.com.au Guest

      OPPS I meant “Environmentaly friendly”

  • Ali K

    Google has been publishing information about site performance on the webmaster tools under site performance. Anything less than 1.5 seconds to load is considered slow on the chart. Get a hint.

    – 1.1 sec to load.

  • http://www.habanerochilipepper.com John

    My understanding is that site administrators should be concentrating on image optimization, gzip compression, etc.. Most hosting solutions have adequate bandwidth to compete with the big boys.

  • http://petesgallery.uuuq.com/ Peter Morffew

    What is new?
    The down load speed of a website has always been reiterated to website designers wheather using HTML editing software such as Frontpage, Dreamweaver or even Flash.
    In the good old days when virtually everybody had dial up it was imperative to have a optimised websites that could download in a few seconds if not faster. To get this speed a designer was meant to aim for a page of about 75kb, this included graphics as well.
    Now most of us are on Broadband some website designers seem to think they can design bloated slow loading pages.
    A website still needs to load quickly for the user.
    If any thing users are even less patient now than when we had dial up modems. I have broad band why has it not loaded in 3 seconds. It is obvious it has a load of animated ads……back click.
    Als if a surfer is paying by the minute as some are if a webpage takes it time to load then they are paying for the web designers poor design and optimisation.
    As the phrase goes the customer is always right and all websites should be designed to load as fast as possible.
    Google is just thinking about the customer.

  • http://www.cheapcharlieshotels.com/ Cheap Charley

    I have found that by going in and looking at and removing unessasy weight and just general fixing of little things that I see a bit more traffic on those pages. I have been changing some pictures as well making them lighter. I am guessing that the increase is comming more from Yahoo, Bing than from Google, but for me any increase in traffic is allways welcome.

    I wonder does anyone have an idea what a ideal weight is? most of my pages without graphics come in right around 20k

    Also what would be a good imiage weight. I am using 500 x 375 at 72 DPI i have been reducing down to 400 x 300 at 72dpi

    email me direct at chuckatcheapcharlieshotels…com

  • http://www.uptraffic.com uptraffic

    Really it works with my website so i reduce the size of flash header that i was using in my website.

  • http://www.gtwcmt.co.uk GTWCMT

    The idea of website streamlining has been around for an age.
    One of the problems is that Internet sped up to for many people and not for others, yet site designs have become designed with higher bandwidth consumption and the Internet has not really gained any gain in performance.

    Not so long ago google talked about load balancing, which from a server point of view allowed website to display faster as they are being fed by many servers.
    The fatal flaw in this will it cost more money, pushing out the middle man, are totally unfounded by simple design and would not make any site of any benefit from speed.

    In other words there is a work around…

    Using call script you simply design the website over 3 or four servers to load balance.
    you main site or domain would therefore have a small foot print of maybe a few kb of data which can be loaded in a fraction of the time on that single domain, thus it has a higher rank.

    to the end user of course the problem still remains that if they are on a slow connection the site will still load slowly, but busy website will find the correct approach of load balancing where the bandwidth pipe is a factor in slowing the speed of the sites delivery.

    In consideration, simple easy and basic website have always had more appeal to clients and conversion rates. Having carried out many years of R&D in development and winning 3 multinational awards, you would be forgiving for thinking that we a re a little a head of the curve.

    the contradiction is in googles own making as well as they have said they would rank sites based on multimedia content, meaning that a site with pictures, video and text content and links to other relevant media is good, but as many who were here at the start of the Internet are fully aware this just adds to the bandwidth considerably, even flash sites..
    Back in the, it was considered stupid to design a page of 56k, which would have been a very large page indeed, but now we normally see websites is a single image being 4 times bigger than the initial design ‘standard’ if not greater.

    I do think that shortly we are going to see the Internet evolve to multi code which will be new and all HTML code being obsolete. Perhaps a info network may use HTML and would be limited to textual content, and sub code for different websites serving different media types or maybe a speed (users download limit) transitional code so that content can be delivered depending on the users limitations.. something like WAP is now for mobile.

  • http://xstroy.com Xstroy

    Internet is not everywhere has a maximum speed. Normal GPRS access c lostupnymi phone makes it fast sites, but the same WordPress terribly slow and the developers are doing nothing for his relief. Why?

  • http://www.elegance4her.com Sams

    I found your website is very informative and enjoyable

  • http://www.uchlhr.com FUE in Pakistan

    Google should definitely consider speed of the site besides other factors.It is informative and well written article.

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