Late last week Google announced that they were including an additional signal in their search ranking algorithm. That new signal has been identified as Site Speed. Site speed reflects how quickly a website responds to web requests. The faster, the better. We live in an age of instant gratification so it really is not a surprise that this be included in Google’s algorithm.
Google’s research has proven that a faster site contributes positively to the user experience. In addition, Google’s internal research has shown that users spend more time on a faster site and tend to exit a slower site sooner. This is good information to take into consideration when developing, redesigning or optimizing your website!
Mannix Marketing has been optimizing websites for 14 years and since the very beginning we have included this in our optimization techniques! From our viewpoint, we’ve seen Google respond more favorably to fast loading sites for many, many years!
Here are a few ways that Mannix has been optimizing for fast site speed:
A. Make sure to optimize your images! Large graphics or photos can take up a lot of space and slow down your site speed and limit your site performance.
B. Make sure to host your site close to the backbone of the internet. If your site is hosted in a foreign country, for example, then it has to go through several “hops” before it gets to the backbone. These hops take time and slow down the speed of your site. Do some research on your host company before making a decision or call Mannix Marketing for hosting. We have done this research and chosen a hosting company that is very close to the backbone for this very reason!
C. Make sure your server is not overloaded. Test server speed!
D. Simple is best. Our motto since the day we opened our doors has been to “keep it simple”. When flash was all the rage, we were advising against it. When new database driven sites were the best way to keep a large site updated, we insisted on keeping static pages. When shopping carts were blooming, we were only using search engine friendly carts. To this day, to “keep it simple” is still part of our recommendation!
Google estimates that only 1% of sites will be affected. In addition, this only applies for visitors searching in English on Google.com only. If you’ve been affected, please let us know. Again, we’re sure they have been utilizing this all along!
To find out if your site may have an issue with site speed, visit the following links:
Website Goodies – Website Speed Test.
WebPageTest – Shows your page load performance as well as a comparison against an optimization checklist.
YSlow – A Firefox Addon. Free from Yahoo.
Evaluating and improving on your site speed is not only going to satisfy a signal in Google’s algorithm (whether new or old!), but it will also improve the functionality of your website. Converting users into customers starts with their first glimpse of you or your company through the vehicle of your website. Make it the best you can!
If you’ve been a client of Mannix Marketing, we’ve had your back on this issue!