Your Site Speed and You

by Andrew Hallinan - Date: 2010-06-07 - Word Count: 535 Share This!

You may have already heard that site speed is now a factor in your website's search engine rankings - especially for Google. In this article, I'm going to attempt to identify the who, what, when, where, why, and how to improve for your website. Wish me luck!

1. Why, Google, WHY?!

First of all, Google is on a kick to make the internet faster - which I think is great! With ISPs providing faster download and upload speeds, computers becoming faster and more powerful, and searchers becoming more impatient - who really wants to have a website that is slow and bulky? No one.

The bottom line here is that speed has been shown and proven to increase conversions. Shopzilla and Firefox have both spent resources in testing the increases in speeds and nothing else - not a single content change. Shopzilla saw a 7-14% increase in conversions, and Firefox saw a 15.4% increase in downloads - just from changing their site speed! This what just from making tweaks in their speed.

The second issue is that if you have a faster site, your users will be happier. You'll increase your user's satisfaction. Microsoft and Google teamed up and did an experiment in which they gave some users delayed results. They found that the more the delay, the more unhappy a client was.

The third issue is that slower website speeds produce long term negative results for the end user. Again, Microsoft and Google teamed up and gave users a half a second delay. They found that the users who received these results showed a decrease in query volume. At 7 weeks, they reset these users, and the query volume went up, but not to the same levels.

Although speed is a factor, content and relevance are still the primary ranking factors.

2. Steps to improve your website's speed

First of all, it's important to know that 80-90% of the end user response time is spent on the front end. Images, Flash, and other objects that will be displayed are going to take immense amounts of time to download. When you decide to start optimizing for speed, start on the front end! There is a greater potential for improvement, it's simpler to do, and it has been proven to work. Although one would think that optimizing your database or scaling your architecture would help more, it doesn't.

Second, a question arises - how the heck do you know if your website is slow or not? I think the first place to start is to head over to where they have an absolutely excellent speed test. It's very in depth and will even give you ideas on how to optimize your website for speed! It's amazing how much time it took to download my simple blog - over 7 seconds!

Now, Webmaster Tools has a section called "Site Performance" which will give you a pretty good idea of how your website is doing. It will not only tell you what your website page load time is and it will compare it to other websites throughout the web.

There is also a Firefox plugin called "Page Speed" that you can run on ANY URL. It will give you very specific recommendations and ideas to help your website have an decrease in page load times.

Andrew Hallinan is the owner of Tampa Search Engine Optimization company, and is Tampa Bay's leading Search Marketing Specialist. Andrew Hallinan has more free tips and advice at his blog.n
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