Domaining SEO Sunday: Google Said It – Size Matters!

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!

http://code.google.com/speed/page-speed/

{ 5 comments… add one }

  • Andrew R April 11, 2010, 4:26 pm

    it’s interesting they did not mention their own service. Within Google Chrome you right click and go to “inspect element”. Click on the resources tab – and this whole area helps you identify problem areas. The Time and Size sections are both interesting in helping you reduce page load time.

    Reply
    • Morgan April 11, 2010, 4:32 pm

      Thanks for the comment @Andrew and excellent point – thanks for sharing this tip! This is definitely a great resource for Chrome users!

      Reply
  • Ace April 11, 2010, 5:37 pm

    @Morgan,

    While Google maintain that this is just one of the 200 factors in determining the position of a site for a result, and they do not give a lot of importance to it. I am guessing that the algorithm would select a faster site more preference for nearly equal weight-age returned by Google’s algorithm.

    @Andrew, @Morgan:
    Regarding Google Chrome’s feature to give the response time for resources within a page, this feature in a common arsenal for all modern browsers including IE8. This is definitely useful to see response time of various resources (images, css, javascripts)
    wrt to each other ultimately we would want to see how others see our site.

    Reply
  • The Name You Know April 12, 2010, 8:04 am

    Can you elaborate on the “size” part? I actually have the impression Google favours larger sites, sites with many pages that is- over smaller sites. Any idea on that?

    Reply
    • Morgan April 12, 2010, 3:38 pm

      @The Name You Know By size I mean how quickly the site loads, i.e. the load time of a page.

      Reply

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