Thursday, April 22, 2010

Site Speed in Google Search Ranking Algorithm

Google recently announced that they would start considering the speed of a site as one of the ranking signals that they use to rank pages in search results. Why is Google interested in speed? Searchers presumably associate the quality of the page they land on with Google’s brand. If a page that Google ranks isn’t topically relevant, the searcher’s Google brand experience is negative. Google is taking that a step farther with this algorithm update, implying that a site that is slow to respond or load will also result in a negative search experience that reflects poorly on Google. [MORE]

Experimenting ::: I took 5 random blogs, including mine, to use as "guinea pigs." On my macgyvered home PC, my own blog takes 3:28 to load on dial-up. MyMariuca takes 5:50, Xiaxue takes 8:00, LadyJava NEVER fully loads, Orient-Lodge takes 2:00. The same blogs load fully in under :60 when connecting thru wi-fi on my Fly Ying F003 HiPhone.

According to results, we're all doing well, meeting, exceeding the Google site speed benchmarks, as far as I can determine. More data follows.
PageRank 4
Alexa Rank 142,509
PageRank 3
Alexa Rank 60,454
PageRank 5
Alexa Rank 37,545
PageRank 0
Alexa Rank 954,447
PageRank 0
Alexa Rank 48,524

 Domain name Size Load Time Average Speed per KB

1dave-lucas.blogspot.com103.71 KB0.1 seconds0 seconds

2mymariuca.blogspot.com34.88 KB0.09 seconds0 seconds

3xiaxue.blogspot.com107.59 KB0.11 seconds0 seconds

4ladyjava.org170.79 KB1.06 seconds0.01 seconds

5orient-lodge.comERROR0 seconds0 seconds

Click here for help with low bandwidth.

Google recommends the following  free tools that you can use to evaluate the speed of your site:
  • 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 Webmaster Tools, Labs > Site Performance shows the speed of your website as experienced by users around the world as in the chart below. We've also blogged about site performance.
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.

Common issues to watch for….
  1. Make sure images (and Flash SWF files if your site has them) are small but still viewer friendly and optimized.
  2. When using JavaScript frameworks, you should always use the compressed or minified versions.
  3. Most important: your website hosting service needs to have fast, redundant connections to multiple Internet “backbones” or have minimal “hops” to multiple backbones. Your hosting service’s backbone is what drives traffic to your site.
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Aldon Hynes said...

I've always been concerned about the speed of my site. I add lots of widgets and test code and it slows down the site. I often try to find ways to speed it up while still having as many different widgets as possible.

That said, I do want to note one thing. My blog currently is listed as having a page rank of 4, not 0. (It has slowly dropped over time from 6 down to 4, as I focus more on promoting other blogs instead of getting blogs to link back to me.)

Dave Lucas said...

Hi Aldon - I Think there may be a flaw in the website through which the measurements are made. If you notice your blog came up with an ERROR in the speed-load test. I also thought Lady Java had at least a 3pr...

I once had a pr6 and to this day have no idea what I was doing differently then than now...

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