In April 2008, Google announced that page load time would effect your ad quality score for Pay Per Click ads. They stated the main reason for implementing this factor was to give the user a better experience and to be able to serve web content faster. In further efforts, Google released a great resource for helping webmasters to increase their sites loading time. This resource is packed with helpful articles, tools, best practices and discussions that talk all about how you can improve your sites performance.
With all of these measures Google has taken to promote site performance, leads me to the question:
…will site speed and load time become an important ranking factor in Google’s algorithm.
My thoughts are that in the near future Google will start testing site performance in the search results. It probably will not have a huge impact on rankings at first, however as time goes on, and Google stresses load time, it will gradually become a significant factor. Users are developing less patience’s and want real-time content, so it is only natural that websites cater to their needs by serving content quickly and effectively.
Here is a great interview with Mike McDonald and Matt Cutts that discuss Google’s thoughts on if page speed should be a ranking factor in their algorithm. Matt explains that many people at Google think the web should be fast and that page speed is an important part to having a good user experience.
Watch The Entire Video:
Google has already started to provide the tools necessary to analyze a sites performance and how load pages much faster.
Webmaster Tools: Site Performance
Google launched a new tool within Google Webmaster Tools that will allow you to see your sites performance and load time. Not only will Google tell you how many seconds each page takes to load, but they will also give you detailed reporting on why your page is loading so slow and how to improve it.
As you can see in the image below, Google will show you the number of server requests and DNS lookups that are made when loading each of the pages. You can also drill down into each bullet point to see how you can improve each factor that makes up the loading time of each page.
PageSpeed Firefox Extension
In order for this tool to work you need to install a few firefox extensions first.
Page Speed evaluates performance from the client point of view, typically measured as the page load time. This is the lapsed time between the moment a user requests a new page and the moment the page is fully rendered by the browser. The best practices cover many of the steps involved in page load time, including resolving DNS names, setting up TCP connections, transmitting HTTP requests, downloading resources, fetching resources from cache, parsing and executing scripts, and rendering objects on the page.
Yahoo! YSlow is another firefox extension that is similar to PageSpeed that will measure your site’s performance and load time.
Webpagetest.org is another resource you can use to help diagnose speed issues with your site. Simply enter a url and the tool will analyze the entire site and show reports and recommendations. This tool is ideal for a web master or developer.