Much has been written about the load time of pages as a ranking factor in Google. If you aren't already up to speed on the topic, these articles are a good place to start:
Site Speed, Google's Next Ranking Factor
- Search Engine Land
Google: Page Speed May Become a Ranking Factor in 2010
So, will Page Speed be more important than your content? No. Matt Cutts of Google weighed in on the topic to assure site owners that Page Speed is not more important than relevant content. In their article "Google Sets Record Straight on Page Speed as Ranking Factor
," WebProNews highlighted some key comments in a video in which Matt Cutt's states:
"If you have two sites that are equally relevant, same backlinks, everything else is the same, you'd probably prefer the one that's a little bit faster, so page speed can in theory be an interesting idea to try out for a factor in scoring different websites. But, absolutely, relevance is the primary component, and we have over 200 signals in our scoring to try to return the most relevant, the most useful, the most accurate search result that we can find. So, that's not going to change."
With that said, Matt also made it clear the speed of your site is an element of user experience that should not be overlooked.
"But, if you can speed your site up, it's really good for users, as well as, potentially down the road, being good for search engines. So it's something that people within Google have thought about."
With that in mind, the folks at Gossamer Threads
have launched GTmetrix
, a free tool to help site owners measure the speed of pages on their sites. It's a handy tool that provides a Page Speed Score with in-depth information on the factors that affect the speed of a page. You can find a list of the factors with information on each here
a go and you'll likely learn, as I did, about factors you may not have previously even been aware of.
February 3, 2010
Search Engine Marketing Columnist