Site Performance Does Affect Search Engine Optimisation
Google announced recently that it was considering site performance as one of the ranking factors on its search engines. In addition it is simple common sense to follow best practises for website performance.
Clearly if your page loads quickly there are going to be the benefits of people having an improved experience on your site, which obviously bodes well for your business and for the web in general. Furthermore with faster loading times you can save some costs with your host because you will be using less bandwidth.
How crucial is site performance for Google SEO?
As far as Google rankings are concerned our experiments have shown that unless the site is painstakingly slow, then there is unlikely to be a substantial negative impact on your search engine rankings. In saying that there are other advantages we have noted in addition to those listed above. For example it does appear that faster loading pages are crawled and indexed more regularly by the Google bots.
What should be done?
Basic things such as minimizing the payload, and optimizing cache settings and browser layout don’t need much effort and can make a big difference. There is a wide variety of free tools available to test site speed and overall performance, many of which offer highly detailed, actionable suggestions for code improvement. As you would expect Google has an excellent tool which is available as a Firefox plug in and delivers comprehensive suggestions for improving page load speed.
Generally speaking a page that takes 5 seconds to load with a 10mb/s connection is average and considered acceptable, albeit with room to approve – any longer than that and you may want to look at making some improvements.
By continually improving the experience for your users, the search engines will most likely appreciate your contribution to helping to raise web standards.
For both user experience and SEO purposes making sure that internal linking, site navigation, correct use of tags and clean code are essential to give your site the best chance of shining in the eyes of the engines.