SEOs Blaming Site Speed For Rankings Already

Apr 12, 2010 • 8:29 am | comments (5) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Google Search Engine Optimization

Friday afternoon Google announced that page and site speed is now a ranking factor. Yes, we knew this was coming for months now and Google gave us tools to prepare for this, but how much of an impact does it play in the overall ranking algorithm at Google? Very little!

Google said:

While site speed is a new signal, it doesn't carry as much weight as the relevance of a page. Currently, fewer than 1% of search queries are affected by the site speed signal in our implementation and the signal for site speed only applies for visitors searching in English on at this point. We launched this change a few weeks back after rigorous testing. If you haven't seen much change to your site rankings, then this site speed change possibly did not impact your site.

Yes, less than 1% of the search queries are impacted. That is pretty minor. You can always read what Matt Cutts said or what Search Engine Land said. But this is often missed and people misconstrue things.

A Google Webmaster Help thread already has one webmaster who blames his hosting company for a downgrade in rankings. He said that because his website was down for 40 hours, it impacted his site speed ranking. Um, if your site is down for 40 plus hours, Google may remove you for a bit for other reasons.

I am sure more and more webmasters and SEOs will bring up site speed issues as a ranking issue in Google. Yes, having a fast site is important but you need a really really slow site to impact your Google rankings.

Forum discussion at WebmasterWorld, DigitalPoint Forums and Google Webmaster Help.

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Imad Mouline of Gomez

04/12/2010 04:52 pm

Poor site performance can drive customers to the competition – in fact, 40 percent of consumers will wait no more than three seconds for a Web page to load before abandoning a site. The importance of Web speed to the end-user experience and business results is once again validated by this Google news. Gomez, the Web performance division of Compuware, offers several free tests that companies can use to determine how well their Web sites are performing in critical areas like speed. For example: Gomez’s free custom benchmark test enables you to directly compare your Web site performance to that of your key competitors. The company also offers a free mobile readiness test to gauge the speed of mobile Web sites: Finally, Gomez also offers a free load readiness assessment service, which enables you to determine the impact of heavy traffic on Web site speeds, which can help guide capacity decisions: All of these tests measure speed from the real-world perspective of end-users at the edge of the Internet – the only realistic measure, as subjected to an extremely wide range of Web “noise” including ISPs, carriers, CDNs, etc. Businesses can then use this information to optimize speed across all the elements that ultimately color the end-user’s experience.

Michael Martinez

04/12/2010 07:35 pm

If Google serves 6,000,000,000 queries a month then "fewer than 1%" could still amount to 59,999,999 queries. That said, SEOs are quick to assume things happen for reasons they fear without really acquiring proper evidence to support their conclusions. Server speed has indirectly influenced crawl (and therefore indexing and rankings) for years.

Barrie Adams of Traphic

04/13/2010 11:03 am

This is an interesting topic which I will be monitoring, page speed is obviously important for users and of course it is a ranking factor but seems to be one to not worry about unless you have serious issues with page load speed. I suggest all large scale Drupal sites and possible other CMS's ensure they make use of caching and look at ways to improve page load speed. I would say that most smaller sites, such as static html sites, should not need to optimse for page speed, but this may also depends on your host and the speed of the server. Solution to page load speed problems? Get a good solid host and enable caching modules, make use of memcache if possible. The Firefox Page Speed tool is invaulable for helping to improve page speed, definately a great place to start. Get it here

Martin Greenwood

04/13/2010 12:22 pm

page speed has been important for a long long time, not just for the whole SEO factor either. If SEOs start to complain about this then they are obviously not very good at their job are they.

No Name

04/13/2010 12:28 pm

Yes, this will probably become the excuse/explanation for many...much easier than acknowledging that they have poor content which no one links to and that doesn't send a strong, original signal to begin with. I have to believe that if this is truly a significant enough issue to impact a site's rankings, then the site was teetering on the edge to begin with.

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