Google announced this week that the speed of a page is now being considered as part of how they rank pages on a web site. This has some people happy, others scrambling.
There are a couple of things which need to be considered with this news.
- Google uses over 200 factors to “grade” a site, determining where it should be placed in the search engine rankings. Adding 1 additional factor, unless it is a large factor should have little effect on the search results.
- “All things being equal I would prefer to visit a fast loading site versus a slow one when I search for something” – the question is, what are the odds that all things are equal. They aren’t – so good, relevant content and links are still more important.
- Google launched the update a couple of weeks before the announcement. – And no one really noticed! This means that either, A) It’s not that big of a factor, or B) users had already identified the preferred site, and took the speed into effect, and helped Google rank the page by links, and content.
Does this mean you shouldn’t worry about a site speed – of course not, but it does mean you shouldn’t worry about it. It also means it’s something to consider, as Google, as well as many other companies, have seen that “that when a site responds slowly, visitors spend less time there”. (source)