Site Speed — Google's Next Ranking Factor. How Fast is Your Site?
World Wide Web is soon going to become the Wild Wild Web where the fast guys rule. According to Google's engineer Matt Cutts the search giant is inclined to introduce a new ranking factor into its algorithm — site speed. Once that happens, your site load time will have a direct impact on your Google rankings.
If you're a fast site, maybe you should get a little bit of a bonus. If you really have an awfully slow site, then maybe users don't want that as much , says Cutts.
Google is pushing towards a faster web where web pages can be turned as quickly as those of a print magazine. If your site doesn't catch up with the pace it doesn't belong on the first page of search results.
When will Site Speed Become a Ranking Factor?
Google's already using load speed as a Quality Score factor in its paid search platform AdWords, where advertisers with faster web pages pay less. It's hard to tell for sure when site speed factor will be officially brought into organic search though. Some experts believe it already has an effect on rankings and Google will give it more weight. Google says speed is yet to become a factor in the ranking algo.
Anyway, it seems reasonable for Google to introduce the new factor together with the new search architecture known as Google Caffeine which is to be rolled out after the holidays (early 2010). Google wants Caffeine to be faster. Higher speed will be hard to achieve with slow sites ranking in top 10, so it makes perfect sense for Google to apply the site speed factor in Caffeine.
Check Your Website Load Time
If your site depends on Google rankings for traffic and sales (which is true for a vast majority of sites) you should be ready for any change in the game, big or small. Taking action before the change even happens is a key to the prosperity of your business.
Google doesn't often tell us about its updates before they go live. That's why as soon as we heard the news here at Link-Assistant.Com we've put together a new version of WebSite Auditor (our on-page optimization tool) that will help you get ready for the change.
The new version lets you quickly check your site speed and compare it against your top ten competitors. Doing this is easy as ever with SEO PowerSuite tools. You simply specify your website or web page address and the keyword(s) you're targeting. WebSite Auditor then finds your top 10 competitors for the keyword and compares your site against them in a variety of ways:
- Keyword use and density in all page elements.
- Most popular keywords and keyphrases on your and competing webpages.
- Problem areas in your content, etc.
And now it also lets you check your site's load time. If you click through to the Report Tab you'll see a special Site Load Time section closer to the end of the report. In it you get all the information you need to check whether your site is fast enough to rank in the top 10 of Google. Here's a sample on-page optimization report we've created for our website www.link-assistant.com (target keyword — SEO software).
What's in the Site Load Time Report?
What you get in the report is the following data:
- Site load time of your website
- Site load times of your top 10 competitors
- Competition's average load time and how it compares to your site's load time
- Recommendations on speeding up your website
- The size of your webpage
- The size of each competing page
- The average size of the competing pages
- Load Time with different Internet Connection Speed (this one is mostly about optimizing for your visitors rather than for the search engines).
All the data is presented in a handy way, so that you can quickly analyze your website and take action if needed.
Be Fast or Be Dead
In the dawning era of fast Internet no one's gonna waste time waiting for your site to load. Having a slow site used to only affect your users' experience which alone is extremely important. Soon it may also affect your Google rankings. Get ready for the coming change. Download the fresh version of WebSite Auditor and check if you're fast enough to rise to the top in the new Google.
Note: If you already have WebSite Auditor, simply restart the tool for it to update automatically.
Attention if you are already using WebSite Auditor
Here's how you check your website speed and add the Site Load Time section to your report.
Make sure that your WebSite Auditor is up-to-date. The simplest way is to restart the tool - it will auto-update if there's a fresher version. Just in case, manual downloads are here.
Rebuild your current WebSite Auditor project or create a new one.
Go to 'Preferences' -> 'Report Templates' and click 'Add' to create a new report template.
Choose report type
Check the box next to Site Load Time to add this section to your report.
- Go through the remaining wizard steps, name your report template and click 'Finish'.
- Select the new report template from the dropdown menu in the upper right-hand corner.