That’s right – Google made it official this week and let the whole world know that for them – size does matter! No – this is not a gag post…however by size I mean the size of your website…what were you thinking of?
More specifically Google announced that site speed, or how quickly your site loads is now a confirmed factor in Google’s ranking algorithm. For anyone who follows Google you know that they are obsessed with optimizations and performance so this move is a very logical step that I wouldn’t be surprised to see Bing follow as well.
The great thing is that 99% of website owners don’t pay attention to their load time which means that you now have one more way to outrank competing sites, outside of having an exact-match domain of course!
So how can you determine how quickly your page loads? Google recommends the following services:
- Google Webmaster Tools – If you navigate to “Labs” -> “Site Performance” Google themselves will tell you the speed of your website…can’t get much better than this!
- WebPageTest.org – Shows you quickly your site loads along with suggestions for improving load time.
- YSlow – Yahoo has a tool that will give suggestions on how you can improve your site speed – look at that – Google promoting a Yahoo service!
- Page Speed – Very useful Firefox Plugin made by Google that shows you site speed and suggests improvements
I myself have also used the following services to test site speed/load-time:
- Pingdom – really handy free tool to check website load time. Great chart breaks-down load-time by individual components.
- WebOptimization.com – great free tool that shows load time and comments on every element on your site giving you suggestions to improve load-time.
- Google Webmaster Tools – referenced above by Google
So now it’s time to take a look at some of your top-performing sites and determining what you can do to make them faster. Analyze your competition – how long does it take their site to load? Just like you want to pay careful attention to the keywords and anchor text you use, website load-time should be an important part of your SEO strategy.
In a future SEO Sunday post I’ll give some of my own personal tips for speeding-up your sites! Now go and enjoy the rest of your Sunday!