The Need for Speed

So, your website is perfect. You’ve sorted the site structure, your coding is spot on, you’ve got more keywords than a dictionary and you are riding high in search engine rankings for your keywords.

What more can you do?

Working in the search marketing and website optimisation industry, this is a quesiton we get posed on a regular basis from clients and colleagues alike. Particularly as the competition for online business gets ever-more cut-throat.

With more and more focus being put on conversions, not rankings, there is a shift in what a ‘perfect’ website is. One aspect in particular seem to have been gathering pace (excuse the pun) of late. A recent post by Matt Cutts has confirmed that the speed your website runs at will now be taken into consideration in Google’s rankings (well….at the moment only if it is in America but it will not be long before it hits our shores).

Lets just think about that…..

Before you get into a panic about your precious rankings falling, the chances are you will not notice a thing. What you need to be thinking about is why Google have announced this change in their algorithm when they usually like keeping web masters guessing? Google is about giving their customers (you and I) the best results. A slow website is an unpopular one. If every time you clicked on a page 1 Google result, you got a slow website, why would you keep using Google? You wouldn’t. Another Search Engine would take over and this is what Google are constantly striving to make sure does not happen.

Google are actually directing you to give your end users a bit of thought rather than focussing on the rankings. We live in a fast paced world and everyone wants information now, not in a minute. Look at the structure of your site – can it be streamlined? You have a video on your site – great! But do you have the infrastructure to stream that video at the necessary speed (not ignoring the potential of multiple views of the video at the same time). What else do you have on your site that could slow the load speed – images? Google are not trying to get you to change to a text only site but to make sure you have a site the can be supported by the set up behind it.

There are many tools available for analysing the speed of your website. The Google Webmaster console is a great place to start. If you prefer, go through your site yourself as a visitor would, make a note of any pages that are slow to load and take the appropriate action. One great thing about looking at the speed of your site is that you can precisely measure it and then change it accordingly.

Google are not trying to rock the boat, they are trying to create a better internet for us all. I for one embrace this change and hope all of you will too.