It’s official – Google does take note of the speed of our websites in their search ranking algorithms i.e. how quickly our website responds to search requests.
In a recent article Google comments that in their internal studies that when a site responds slowly, visitors spend less time there so they have decided to take site speed into account in their search rankings.
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They also list a number of tools that we can use to evaluate the speed of our website:
- 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 which gives a waterfall view of your pages’ load performance plus an optimization checklist
- Google Webmaster Tools (Labs > Site Performance) which shows the speed of your website as experienced by users around the world as in the chart below
- Google Code webspeed tools.
So when you are next talking to your webmaster you might want to talk to them about how to speed up your website to help your search engine ranking – I know I will be talking to mine!
However while the speed of our website is important for users and search engine rankings, Google advises that the relevance of the content on the page is more important. Here is a video from Matt Cutts of Google explaining about the importance of website speed and relevance of content.
If you have managed to speed up your website what actions have you taken?
Is the addition of social media widgets perhaps making our sites more engaging but slower to load and is it time to re-evaluate our sites? Come on all your SEO experts what do you think?