Friday, December 18, 2009

Things to Consider if Page Speed is to Become a Ranking Factor By Chris Crum


About a month ago, WebProNews interviewed Google's Matt Cutts, who suggested that page speed may soon become a ranking factor in the world's most popular search engine. Speed has been a consistent theme with the company over the past year or so, with the release of various tools and announcements. It has become quite evident that Google places a great deal of importance on speeding up the web. With that in mind, it's not hard to see why Cutts' suggestion could soon become a reality. Google has always maintained that it is trying to deliver the best user experience, and by delivering results that load quickly users should get just that.

While many webmasters are embracing the notion of speed as a ranking factor as a welcome change, there are also plenty of people who do take issue with it for a variety of reasons. We've had some interesting comments from readers on the subject. Here are some of them:

So, we all have to pay for the most expensive hosting now or we won’t get found in search engines. I won’t be able to host on my own servers at work now. It went from paying for backlinks with huge advertising corporations to get sites PageRank up, Now we have to go with even bigger corporations that can afford to have a massive pipe connecting to the Internet. I don’t think Google mean to, but they are squeesing the poor people of the World out from search results and glorifying huge corporations – Be careful Google!

Page speed is going to be a big political issue. Apart from concerns about net neutrality, what about countries who’s internet infrastructure is vastly inferior to the technology rich countries. Regions like south east asia and central china have much better connections than east africa. Even some parts of Scotland have poor internet links based on the ageing BT networks. Also the people who can afford dedicated servers and high quality bandwidth have a big advantage over the common Joe who has to rely on shared hosting. Does this make google less democratic? or are they just following what they think people want, ie faster loading sites?
What do you think will happen to the sites that are mainly using rich media like video blogs? Can they really accelerate their load time? If not, are they doomed to drop from the SERP?
The speed thing concerns me. Next to a tiered internet its the biggest slam agains the small time net player. Corporations will take over fast and knock out anyone who can’t afford a lightning fast server.

Those are just a few reader comments that were left on the video interview. You can read them all here. You can read quite a few more on this related article as well. Voice your own concerns here.

Regardless of how you feel about the possibility of Google using page speed as a ranking factor, it's probably going to happen, and it's something you're more than likely going to have to deal with. Besides this even being a factor for regular organic results, consider Google's recently introduced real-time results. The quicker Google can crawl you, the quicker you can potentially appear in this section.

As far as speeding up your site in general, Bill Hartzer recently shared a few tips on the subject in an interview with WebProNews:

And of course, Google has its own tips. The company offered a few on site performance improvement using its Webmaster Tools. Webmaster Tools.. Read More

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