Following on from the above video on June 2009 (note: final line - about their quest to "raise the quality of life"), last Friday, April the 9th 2010 Google officially announced its plan to promote faster loading sites.
This new rule reviews the speed in which the pages show up when a user clicks on an address, the objective being to show their customer (Google users) with sites with advanced usability.
Amit Singhal and Matt Cutts explained over at the Google Webmaster Central Blog
“Faster sites don't just improve user experience; recent data shows that improving site speed also reduce operating costs. Like us, our users place a lot of value in speed — that's why we've decided to take site speed into account in our search rankings. We use a variety of sources to determine the speed of a site relative to other sites”
Read the full blog post here: http://googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.com/2010/04/using-site-speed-in-web-search-ranking.html
Those familiar with Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) know that Google’s ranking of results has mainly been based on the relevance of the website content to search query and providing points to those who have many other sites refer to it as a good source of information.
There are over 200 ranking factors in Google’s rule book, the good news, especially for smaller sites who can’t afford to maintain fast servers, is that they have stated that the most important criteria for ranking results would remain the relevance for a particular query and that the speed rule is only expected to play a minor role. It is believed that only 1% of search queries will be affected by the change to include load speed, as it will mainly involve penalising pages with excessive loading times of around 20 seconds or longer.
Google have helpfully provided a list of some free tools you can use to evaluate the speed of your site, please view these below. If you need any further guidance on site speed or SEO feel free to get in touch. We have used the Google's Site Performance feature found Google Webmaster Tools for some time now, Google blogged about their Site Performance feature back in Dec 09 here.
Handy Tools to evaluate the speed of your 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 shows a waterfall view of your pages' load performance plus an optimization checklist.
In Google Webmaster Tools, Labs > Site Performance shows the speed of your website as experienced by users around the world
There are also many other tools at code.google.com/speed.
We encourage our clients and our readers without an SEO contract with us to start looking at your site speed using the above tools, and as Google say this is to “not only to improve your ranking in search engines, but also to improve everyone's experience on the Internet”
Maybe they really are good guys after all !
Author: Sarah Griffiths