Google incorporating site speed in search rankings

(I’m in the middle of traveling, but I know that a lot of people will be interested in the news that Google is incorporating site speed as one of the over 200 signals that we use in determining search rankings. I wanted to jot down some quick thoughts.)

The main thing I want to get across is: don’t panic. We mentioned site speed as early as last year, and you can watch this video from February where I pointed out that we still put much more weight on factors like relevance, topicality, reputation, value-add, etc. — all the factors that you probably think about all the time. Compared to those signals, site speed will carry much less weight.

In fact, if you read the official blog post, you’ll notice that the current implementation mentions that fewer than 1% of search queries will change as a result of incorporating site speed into our ranking. That means that even fewer search results are affected, since the average search query is returning 10 or so search results on each page. So please don’t worry that the effect of this change will be huge. In fact, I believe the official blog post mentioned that “We launched this change a few weeks back after rigorous testing.” The fact that not too many people noticed the change is another reason not to stress out disproportionately over this change.

There are lots of tools to help you identify ways to improve the speed of your site. The official blog post gives lots of links, and some of the links lead to even more tools. But just to highlight a few, Google’s webmaster console provides information very close to the information that we’re actually using in our ranking. In addition, various free-to-use tools offer things like in-depth analysis of individual pages. Google also provides an entire speed-related mini-site with tons of resources and videos about speeding up websites.

I want to pre-debunk another misconception, which is that this change will somehow help “big sites” who can affect to pay more for hosting. In my experience, small sites can often react and respond faster than large companies to changes on the web. Often even a little bit of work can make big differences for site speed. So I think the average smaller web site can really benefit from this change, because a smaller website can often implement the best practices that speed up a site more easily than a larger organization that might move slower or be hindered by bureaucracy.

Also take a step back for a minute and consider the intent of this change: a faster web is great for everyone, but especially for users. Lots of websites have demonstrated that speeding up the user experience results in more usage. So speeding up your website isn’t just something that can affect your search rankings–it’s a fantastic idea for your users.

I know this change will be popular with some people and unpopular with others. Let me reiterate a point to the search engine optimizers (SEOs) out there: SEO is a field that changes over time, and the most successful SEOs embrace change and turn it into an opportunity. SEOs in 1999 didn’t think about social media, but there’s clearly a lot of interesting things going on in that space in 2010. I would love if SEOs dive into improving website speed, because (unlike a few facets of SEO) decreasing the latency of a website is something that is easily measurable and controllable. A #1 ranking might not always be achievable, but most websites can be made noticeably faster, which can improve ROI and conversion rates. In that sense, this change represents an opportunity for SEOs and developers who can help other websites improve their speediness.

I know that there will be a lot of discussion about this change, and some people won’t like it. But I’m glad that Google is making this step, both for the sake of transparency (letting webmasters know more about how to do better in Google) and because I think this change will make the web better. My takeaway messages would be three-fold: first, this is actually a relatively small-impact change, so you don’t need to panic. Second, speeding up your website is a great thing to do in general. Visitors to your site will be happier (and might convert more or use your site more), and a faster web will be better for all. Third, this change highlights that there are very constructive things that can directly improve your website’s user experience. Instead of wasting time on keyword meta tags, you can focus on some very easy, straightforward, small steps that can really improve how users perceive your site.

186 Responses to Google incorporating site speed in search rankings (Leave a comment)

  1. Again, I’m traveling, so I won’t be able to respond much to commenters. Please be polite/considerate of others in comments, and remember: in the larger picture of Google’s search rankings, this is not a high-impact huge change. It’s bringing in just one more signal (out of many) of what Google thinks our users want.

  2. I think this will improve search results. This is a good initiative from Google, especially since with a Mobile phone, site speed plays such a large factor in the usability of a site. I predict also that this will happen with Flash sites, especially when the user agent is a Mobile phone or… iPad [Ducks!] ;) .

  3. I think this is a very good addition to your 200 signals to determine ranking of a site. As you mention, smaller sites/companies might actually be able to faster adopt to changes, than big companies do.

    Well, now is a good reason for webmaster to take a look at their hosting company and see if they provide enough ressources for their website :)

  4. my pagerank dropped from 5 to 3 last week … was page load time an issue ? :( anyways, I have changed theme now .. I will watch the load time stats in the webmaster tools and see …

  5. Good thing I just migrated to a faster WordPress theme and a bigger server. ;-)

    John P.

  6. good thing its not “CEO speed” because my lap time this days is pretty abysmal :)

  7. Some smaller companies are finding it hard to compete with the big brands for competitive key phrases after Vince update, will this change benefit the small Website for small companies in a way that now they will be able to compete with anyone?

  8. Thanks for the clarification, Matt. I just wish there was a guideline on what “speed” is going to be rewarded vs what “speed” is penalized. I also wonder if more sites are going to have to go to dedicated IP addresses. My host isn’t the fastest, so now I am concerned.

  9. relicx

    Matt, I’ve posted this elsewhere. Can you please comment?

    I’m afraid that once again Google is making the Web unintentionally worse.

    There is a huge problem with Google’s crude attempt to use total page loading time for ranking long pages (that require scrolling down to fully view): it likely uses the total page loading time, not taking into account that in the user’s browser the page could be visible long time before that, if he doesn’t scroll down. We own very popular websites with long pages and we always tried to optimize the experience for the user by showing him what we can as soon as possible. That meant splitting images and Javascript into small parts that only load when they are actually used in that part of the page. This way the user can see the page on his screen as soon as possible. None of the current tools, such as YSlow, webpagetest.org (recommended by Matt Cutts), or Google’s very own PageSpeed understand this, so there is absolutely no reason to think that Googlebot could understand it either.

    Traffic from Google rankings is important to us, so we did what we think they wanted: we listened to the recommendations of these tools and combined images and Javascript to make the total page loading time quicker, making our pages appear to load slower to actual users. This is what happens when Google implements crude measures with a lot of secrecy about their methods – the Web becomes worse.

    After the changes we made, our pages are faster to load according to all existing testing tools and I’m sure Google Webmaster Tools will show an increase in speed. But these tools are not just slightly flawed, they are totally wrong and misleading, because they use the total page loading time. What matters is what users see on their screens and our pages filled out the user’s screen very quickly and continued to load after that.

    Think about a page that has 30 picture thumbnails arranged vertically. You have two choices:

    1. Regular page that loads these pictures one by one, with one file for each thumbnail. First pictures will show up quickly and the user won’t even know that the rest of the thumbnails are not yet loaded, unless he scrolls down immediately. Good user experience, but a lot of connections and some overhead for each picture, so the page speed testing tools show bad performance.

    2. One huge sprite (look up CSS sprites for more info) and the page uses CSS to split it up into separate pictures. Horrible user experience because the user has to wait until the whole sprite loads completely before he sees anything, but the page speed testing tools show improvement.

  10. They have been using download speed for a while. Their goal is to give users the best possible Web experience. I don’t think slow loading pages make for a great experience. Good move for Google, I think.

  11. Guess it’s time for me to start looking into how practical it is to port WordPress to C ;)

  12. Manuel Lemos

    I used Google Page Speed and complained about using Google AdSense and Google Analytics. Shall we remove Google Analytics and AdSense from our pages to not be hurt in getting less visitors from Google Search?

  13. I’m not worried. I always optimised for speed. Unlike some with tunnel-vision, I, and many competent colleagues/competitors I know, do more than push page-rankings. We look at what a site-owner needs. Page-rankings isn’t always “it” either.

    A business that sells niche products to a very select few at a high price (like B2B luxury goods) usually doesn’t benefit from high rankings, it only brings in lots of consumers who can’t buy from them anyway, and traffic is never free.

    They do benefit from a good user experience, good targeting, to the point conversion items, etc. Such sites get their traffic through other means.

    I specialize in non-profits and accessibility. My clients are the small sites mentioned. Tiny budgets, very specific audiences. Many of my clients couldn’t compete with adwords or rankings if they did everything “just right”. But I *can* push them to page one, usually, if not to position one, and then it’s other things that make the difference, like a good page description, a responsive/fast site, etc.

    People may see the first few rankings most, they *buy* from the site that makes it the easiest and most convenient to do so.

    And, any developer worth his/her salt was already aware of mobile platforms, low-bandwidth users (like many in rural areas on satellite connections or dialup), and so on, and so on.

    Anyone who has to even put in fifteen minutes of extra work because of this change is a hack, and a fraud. Harsh words, but that’s how I feel.

    You *always* do the best you can, not just when Google says so. :-)

  14. The best of this advice in my opinion is that site owners and webmasters will try to enhance their sites speed realizing that a faster web will be better for all!

    Thanks for the effort, and wish you good trip back home.

  15. seo

    Hi,Matt!

    I want to know, different parts of the users to access the same site, the speed of fast or slow, Google how to determine it?

    Thanks!

  16. Integrati

    Well, we all knew this was coming and the support Google has given FireBug is also key – we have all the tools we need to improve out sites. Now all we need is for the faster web to become a reality.

    Nice one.

  17. Bigdaddy

    I agree 100% Nothing worth then waiting for ever and a day for a page to load. Horrible user experience. Hopefully with Google going public with this more site owners will make their sites a little more user friendly :-) have a super trip. I always wanted to go to Japan, maybe some day ;-)

  18. Great, something else to worry about… I wish you and your family safe travels.

  19. You say “don’t panic”, then go onto state 101 ways to speed-up your site pages.

  20. BTW, the last thing to load on my pages is often AdSense.

  21. Taha

    I didn’t check the effect on ranking but I think it will increase the search experience of user. Now the companies will try to make a faster site which is good for those people who have slow internet. This change will help in increasing the web more accessible.

  22. Jay

    Question: By “speed” do you mean…

    1.) The site’s loading time in absolute seconds?

    or

    2.) The download speed or RATE at which the site loads?

  23. A logical move from Google. It’ll difinitely help the end user. Also, few more tools/sites will appear on the web to measure speed ;)

  24. Will google just be considering weight of page on initial load or will repeat visits with full local cache also be taken in to consideration?

  25. As posted elsewhere, one issue I wonder about though: if a site’s slowness were already causing it to get less backlinks due to its resulting lower quality, then wouldn’t it now be penalized twice by Google – once by the backlinks count signal, and once by the site speed signal? If we take the hypothetical case of two identical sites where one is slower though – then wouldn’t the faster of the two sites already have a higher PageRank because people are more likely to link to it?

  26. Hello Matt,
    I feel that page speed is vital for your users enjoyment of your site, no-one likes to hang around waiting for a page to load, there is a small window of opportunity to keep your visitors on site, page speed is a large factor in achieving that.
    Thanks to Google’s webmaster tools (site performance) i have been able to speed up my sites, it’s something we should always be focusing on anyway. For it to be included in Google’s 200 site parameters is only natural.
    Thanks.

  27. I’m glad they implimented this all things considered. I hope garbage flash sites are hit hard because we’re all tired of those sluggish beasts bogging down people’s search experience. All my sites are in the top 5-10% percentile page speed wise. It seems like most changes are in CSS refinement which is really good to know.

    How’d you get the previous post to show with the anchor text like that? Is that a wordpress plugin? Reading about pagination etc the anchor text in the bottom makes a lot of sense. It would be cool if wordpress had an “inform me when someone replies” feature for blogs like this.

  28. I am concerned, 1% of those searches is probably made from geek …

    Hello,
    Yuri.

  29. Hi Matt
    The human condition is a strange one – no matter how sensibly you say ‘don’t panic’ and reassure people that they’re going to be OK… all they hear is ‘PANIC’ and proceed to run around like headless chickens thinking that the web and their websites are heading south in a handcart… and you’re travelling so won’t be able to stop it… who does run the web whilst you’re away Matt?
    Safe travels Matt, and to every one who feels so inclined – safe panicking!

  30. Matt, I am 99.5% in agreement with you. I for one am mildly irritated when sites are slow loading. The converse is also true, if a site loads fast my user experience is better.

    I like Google’s user experience approach to SEO. I am trying to improve my site’s speed, but also things like English grammar and natural writing in my articles, and mostly (try) to forget that there is even something like SEO.

    Instead of thinking about keywords, I use something like After the Deadline to check my writing style and I read books ‘On writing well’. It’s a user experience approach to ranking hire that I have tried to take since reading your blog.

    However, one draw back about website speed is, I like to take pictures and put them on my blog. I do not like to resize them as, the image quality is part of the experience. The downside is large photos slow site speed.

    I know I could use a photo gallery plug-in etc, but I wanted to point out one draw back of the site speed issues.

    However, over all it is a great idea and I hope Google continues to focuses more on user experience, like site speed and writing style and even a little less on links.

    I do not think I am tell you something you do not already know, links people can manipulate, and many times well ranked sites are those that are clever about getting links even if they are from big sites.

    However, people will have a harder time manipulating things like site speed and English grammar and writing style and article depth, which are on-site user experience factors.

    I hope you enjoy your trip.

  31. Jag

    Hey Matt,

    Off comment, why don’t you add Google Buzz to your Follow Me section?

    Google lover would like to do so :)

    Best,
    Jag

  32. Good points. It’s a small-impact change any way and we’d all like a little more speed.

  33. It is a nice move. However, site speed is only one in over 200 ranking factors. Does it really affect the search result rankings?

  34. I think this is indeed a great opportunity for all SEO’s out there. I’ve been working on improving my site speed a while now, and it’s really great to see some positive results!

  35. Dear Sir,
    I remembered your video in which you had mentioned about the speed of the site in search ranking. You talked that pages of the website should be open like as we turn the pages of magazine.Even you have given hint that Google may take this into consideration in future.

    Finally Google implemented this in search ranking.A well move by Google for users and small companies.

  36. In general I believe that this is a good move from Google. People want fast access to Webpages and the data on those pages.
    I am however a little concerned that all Sites are measured for speed ‘fairly’; as an example I get a performance score of 100/100 from YSlow for most of my Australian hosted Webpages. From Page Speed I mostly get 84/100 and yet in Webmaster Tools my Site is ‘faster than 53% of sites’ and is deemed as slow.
    Does this mean that speed is measured from a remote country and not the country which is the target of the content (i.e. my site is possibly deemed as slow because the measurement is taken from a far off country)? If this is the case my Site, although fast when accessed in Australia is being penalized for slow performance unjustifiably.

  37. Guys, an easy tune-up for a blog is to install a cache plugin. This creates static versions of your posts so that the pages are not re-created from scratch every time with tons of PHP code being processed and multiple database accesses. Instead, an HTML file is displayed which may also contain javascript for the dynamic elements.

  38. Hi Matt,

    You have inspired me to do some work, haha. I remember reading about this before, but I put it the later basket. Anyway, I put together a quick howto article on the google site speed tool and implementing some code and apache tweaks for others to follow.

    Thanks, and enjoy your holiday.
    Dave

  39. I hope your measurement of speed does not include how long Google AdSense, Good Analytics, Quantcast, 3rd party widgets and other such things load. AdSense and Analytics and other 3rd party widgets slow our web pages down the most. If AdSense wasn’t generating revenue for us, I would consider removing it since it makes our pages load 2x slower than without the AdSense code.

    And I also want to mention, from a user’s perspective, what is important to me is how fast the page appears on the screen, not some speed test result. I’ve been on pages where the page loads first, then takes a few seconds to load the AdSense, Analytics, Facebook Fan buttons, etc. I can start browsing & using the page even though the ads haven’t finished loading yet. But then there are other pages that load fast statistically, but I don’t see anything in my browser until the whole page loads. Statistically it’s faster but the user has to wait longer to see the loaded page. So be careful how you measure speed. The real question is how long until a useable piece of the page is visable to the user, rather than how long it takes for the whole thing to load (including ads, anaytics, widgets, etc.).

  40. I have many websites, some hosted at 3rd party web hosts instead of our own servers. Some of the web host’s servers are slow. I suppose I will have to start migrating sites now to faster machines and possibly spend more money to get faster hosting.

    Have you considered the following:

    1. How does this effect sites with great information, but hosted on a slow server, perhaps because the information is free and the site was not made to make money? Or sites from developing countries, or non-profit, or startups, or hobby websites that cannot afford a fast server or a web designer or an SEO?

    2. Won’t commercial entities benefit the most since they can afford faster web hosting, web designers and SEO?

    3. Won’t overseas websites be penalized by being slower than domestic sites?

    4. How many small web hosting companies will be put out of business as SEO’s all flock to the big guys with the fastest servers?

    5. Don’t slow sites already get penalized for being slow with less traffic & less backlinks already? Doesn’t this just penalize them twice?

    Since you say less than 1% of sites are effected by the change, is this just a way to get SEO’s & website owners to panic and make the sites faster? Be careful of the unintended consequences that could choke off the little guy over time. Not everyone can afford faster web servers, even some of the really cool sites people create out of passion rather than profit.

  41. Good move; may get some cms designers to finally make the things user friendly. I’m sure if anyone botered to measure, slow pages lose visitors and damage ROI, as you say, so this will good for everyone who wants a better web, but bad for those who want visitors to make up for design flaws – “Best in IE7″, “please wait while page loads” “Do it our way or we’ll blame you when we go bankrupt”. Go, Google.

  42. This was the final kick over the edge for me to work on the caching on my sites. All done. It didn’t even hurt.

  43. I agree. Our society is way too ADD for slow moving sites these days. When someone, including myself, comes across a site that moves slow I hit the “back” button.

    Having said that I really do not believe that many sites at all are going to be affected. This is one factor out of 200. And most sites on page one are fast loading anyway. The ones that are not were never popular to begin with. There is a small minute percentage of sites that take forever to load and those are the ones that will have to make adjustments.

    As far as meta tags go here is my spin= No matter what Google has stated meta tags do work somewhat. I have had blogs and articles get indexed just from their meta tag page. In fact many times the meta tag page has been indexed before any of the other pages were. They seem to especially help with local searches.

    If I were trying to make a site for “pluming Portland” these are the meta tags I would add:

    plumbing
    plumbing Portland
    plumbing Portland Or
    Portland Or plumbers
    plumbing companies Portland
    plumbing installers
    plumbing installers Portland

    and so forth. I used to not believe in meta tags until quite recently I started working for a SEO firm. I used to always used no more than 4-5 meta tags tops. My unofficial manager asked me to add at least 10 to every post and page I did. The results were good. I found that those people were finding my articles, blogs, and sites just by tags. So when I hear that they do not carry much weight, I have to say hum???

    Other than that Matt you are doing an excellent job. I actually really admire you and your blog and yet have a profound, deep seated fear of you at the same time. Its really funny because you seem like you are a very funny people-oriented guy and yet you have the power at your fingertips to make anyone “vanish” off the Google map lol Use it well. With great power comes blah blah blah

    Wesley
    Portland, OR

  44. It only makes sense that page speed should be considered since it results in giving users a better experience. However, I really don’t see it hitting the radar with most SEO’s. I think it’s one of those ‘come to work’ items that goes with good design.

  45. I feel that I skip over some sites that load to slow for me, even though they may have really good content, because the designer has sacrificed speed for something they feel is prettier or catchy, so I think this will be a good thing. On the other hand…the web may become a pretty boring place as far as pretty and catchy goes.

    We have become a society with a mantra of “more fun faster!” I almost wish it wasn’t so. Almost.

  46. Lazar

    For whatever reasons, the page speed indicated in Google webmaster tools does not seem to be accurate- it usually shows much higher numbers than other tools.

  47. Hi guys,

    I think that a site speed is a good adjustment.

    Kind regards,

    Sam
    X

  48. Sebastian

    Dear Matt

    The tool in the Webmaster console complains mostly about
    “http://www.google-analytics.com/ga.js”
    and
    “http://www.google.com/afsonline/show_afs_ads.js”
    Is there anything i can do to make those faster? ;-)

  49. RE: Google incorporating site speed in search rankings

    “site speed” OR page download speed? Also, how does Google determine “site speed”?

  50. RE: fewer than 1% of search queries will change as a result of incorporating site speed into our ranking.

    That ends up penalizing millions of sites.

  51. Hi, matt:

    How can I put wedget

    select language
    Powered by Google Translate

    like your site
    in my site?

    please you must give me the hlep as I do like it.

  52. What would you consider a good page download speed. Alot of my sites run on a basic config dedicated servers and im getting around 1000 milliseconds.

  53. Agreed that if your site is slow enough to trigger this “penalty” (for want of a better word), then you have bigger things to worry about than rankings. Just like good content, good linking, etc are all marks of a quality site, so is speed. Well done Google!

  54. I like this new “feature”. Slow websites are horrible and now maybe some people will work on fixing that.

    :thumbsup

  55. For fairly obvious reasons, I really like this. If users consider a quality factor when visiting a site, it only makes sense that Google would as well.

    By the way, I’m not sure Matt linked to where he intended to with ” can improve ROI and conversion rates” – anyone know what this link is supposed to be?

  56. Amit Doda

    Thanks Matt for sparing time even when you had busy schedule. It is always one of the user friendly factor and I am sure SEO experts are already taking care of it. But making it as part of ranking, we need to keep a close check on the client web sites so that we can identify it’s impact. Must say it is good move!

  57. I agree with your point about smaller sites being able to make faster changes. I have found a more efficient template for my WordPress site (like one of the other commenters) and am implementing another couple of tweaks to up my speed, probably before big companies have even got their first memo about the subject out.

  58. Site speed should never have an effect on relevance. I think Google could have spent it’s time more wisely.

  59. Thank God – I was worried my site being too slow, as I am using bit of flash. Using those tools shows my site is ok!

    Thanks

  60. EGOL

    I like the idea of a fast web. But often the measure of quality – in my opinion – is generous content, lots of large images with great resolution, maybe a video and a few other beefy assets – without requiring the visitor to view 15 pages to see them.

    I hope people don’t respond to this by swapping big juicy images for blurry thumbnails, formal writing for text message spelling, and single-page articles for twenty-page sequences.

  61. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on site speed. This change is good for all our us.
    Hope this change affects on our jap google algo near future.

    Takuya

  62. Yasir

    Thanks Matt for the update. I also believe this change is good for smaller websites with compare to larger one, because it is really difficult for larger websites to make changes in their system for implementing best practices in shortest span of time.

    As it is clearly mentioned in the webmaster central post that “Relevancy of a Page” is still the most important factor but what about if my web page is highly relevant but my web page takes average 6 seconds to load. Now which factor will work? Relevancy or Web Page Speed?

    Thanks,

  63. As has been called out already my main question would be around how Google determines this page load time? Does it count the likes of Google Analytics and Adsense, which are notoriously slow to complete and often leave pages hanging?

    If it does then aren’t you potentially shooting yourselves in the foot?

  64. Hmm

    Your homepage is loading fairly slowly here in France !
    I wonder what influence poor trans-Atlantic download times will have on scores for my French clients who really only want to rank in Google France

    Is some sort of control built into the system whereby only local download times can influence ranking in one particular local version Google. Only this would make sense as download times from one country to the next can be fairly poor. IMO it would be unfair to judge a French website using any recorded download time from the US.

    - Neil

  65. Dave

    In principle this is a good idea. However my question is in relation to photography websites, or travel related websites.

    Does googles algorithm take this into account? And, if so, are rankings / seo corrected for websites whose main focus is on displaying images/ photographs?

    Thanks

    Dave

  66. Can’t help myself wondering if a speed war will not happen between skilled webmasters, leaving little websites with no computer scientists at their head or dedicated hosting plan way behind.

    I understand Google’s desire to make the user’s experience better. But incorporating speed as a criteria will only make that experience faster, not better.

    I sincerely hope I’m wrong.

  67. sure. website that loads faster should rank better makes sense for most normal sites. heavy sites especially graphic or audio-video oriented website could have different thoughts though.

  68. This is a great thing. Perhaps we could see a performance boost on the Web in the long run. I believe a markup validation test would be welcome and may also make a difference in rankings :-)

  69. Joi

    Great post – you cleared things up beautifully. I think this is something that will, as you point out, be good for everyone. I hate slow-loading sites and avoid them at all costs. Those with the flashy, gawdy graphics that take two forevers to load may amuse the site’s owner, but they do nothing for me.

    Kudos to Google for letting us know what we need to know to get where we want to get: First page Heaven!

  70. Joe

    This will deter sloppy coding and force people to spend a little more on quality services. I like!

  71. I think everyone should be happy about this, it is a step in the right direction.. HOWEVER it will need some refinement over time I am sure. Many people mention things like Adsense ads and Google Analytics slowing down pages with is soooo very true.

    I have been almost fanatical about page load times for quite some time (ask any of my clients) but I believe it does pay off. My own little blog is my showcase that I use as my “do as I do not as I say” demo site. Might as well embrace this as I’m sure it’s not going to go away.

  72. I’m assuming that they are simply measuring average speed per kb. So if my website is 62kb and my competitors is only 28kb and loads quicker, the fact that mine loads each KB faster will count for more? Right?

    Anyway – it would be good to hear how it works if you are gonna make these announcements, no point giving us a taster of things when you are not going to let us know the mechanics, otherwise yes we will all PANIC.

  73. Always wondered if this went into the algorithm. Great post. Anybody got any suggestions for software or tools that’ll streamline or automate the process of speeding up your site? Thanks.

  74. I hope you read Sam Stotz’s comments really carefully. My site is “slow” according to Google’s tools, likely because things like Adsense and Analytics and Quantcast slow the total page load time. But I have a pretty snappy server, and visitors to my site are able to read content long before the page has completely “loaded”, making the actual human experience good.

    If Google isn’t able to understand and measure the difference, your ultimate goal of creating a better web is really just going to dumb down websites, whose nervous owners strip out photos, embedded videos, cool js aps and tools, and anything else they fear being penalized for.

  75. Ido

    Hey Matt,
    Are we talking about the speed of the page (=html until doc ready) or the overall speed to download (= all the other JS calls for all the ads etc’) ?
    Thanks for a good post!

  76. Yay!, I’m glad my investment into looking at improving page speed, mostly using yslow and page speed in firefox and then researching how to get the scores up higher is now going to perhaps help out with search results.

    It’s nice to do anyway to help reduce strain on the server, keep bandwidth costs down and impove general user experience.

  77. I personally think this is a great change for all Google end users. Now you will get the most relevant search results on the web and are helping to increase the time it takes to find the information.

    I know we will be looking at the load speeds of our sites to see if there are any improvements we can make.

  78. Novosti

    Google sticks a knife into the back of nonprogrammers who dare to have their websites. But dont worry, as Matt pointed out, it’s only a small knife. I wont hurt a bit.

    I checked my site speed with Zoompf, got a bunch of issues, like this one:
    Combinable Style Sheets
    - High impact
    - Challenging to solve
    Do you know how to solve it? I dont. So now, everything else being equal, a website created by a “SEO professional” will be ranked higher even if he knows nothing about let say, medicine. So no, Bill, you wont find most relevant results, only “it loads faster” results.
    interesting ideology of the future web x.0, courtesy of Google – “Programmers only”.

  79. You know what? I think the user experience will improve, but I believe the true purpose of this measure is to help their own Google crawler to work faster and indexing more pages in a shorter time.

    Pedro Dias said on Twitter: Did you know thay 10-25% of the web is new Every time Google crawls it?

    After all with such a large amount of new information being dumped on the Internet, and the challenge of making the search engines display results in real time, it’s necessary that the sites are also prepared to allow the spiders to crawl faster.

  80. Google = TimeCop
    what’s next
    Google = Grammar Police?

    Its all good tho…

  81. How does slow load time for Google Analytics code influence all of this? That code can definitely slow the load time down, so in theory, NOT using Google Analytics should actually cause a site to rank slightly better… Is it possible that Google could ignore this somehow, or factor it in as to not essentially penalize a site for using GA?

    Just a thought.

  82. I have been following Google’s trends and how much they care about speed. The faster they can index a site and its content, the more efficient and cheaper it will be for them.

    That is why they have designed Chrome, which is supposed to be a fast browser, to speed things up and encourage faster browsing in the industry.

    I love the idea of speed also makes people write better contents that is to the point as a user I can appreciate fast browsing too. Take’s less of my time.

  83. I think this is a great idea, however is it totally fair yet? All my websites are in New Zealand and Australia and will definitely load slower in the US. In my webmaster tools the site speed is looking really bad, but here in NZ the speed is really good.

    Also my websites are extremely focused on the user experience and being a restaurant dining guide my photos of the restaurant food are nice and big to really appeal to the user, they love seeing these photos. They are compressed down as far as I can get them without loosing the quality but it would be unfair to make them a whole lot smaller just so my site can load that much faster don’t you think?

  84. Cheryl Fuerte

    What if all the websites co-locate at the data center that’s nearest to any of the Google Data Centers, they will be faster then? Just kidding, thanks for sharing this important piece information.

  85. Hi Matt,

    I realize at best you will likely skim past this comment and pick up 2 words from it but I will post it anyhow :)

    This blog scores a B in yslow for the small site/blog setting.. :-O I noticed a few things (3 css files in thesis) and the fact that you don’t have a CDN setup… SO inferring that those are all ok, just how critical is this all in the end AND do you have any plans on making your blog here a “shining example” of how things should be?

  86. Hi Matt,

    What about the SMB’s who may not be able to affort a CDN setup.

    Thanks,
    Joydeep

  87. In general I believe that this is a good move from Google.

  88. Hi Matt,
    it would be good to eliminate the test-sites as http://www.webpagetest.org from the results of the GA. Because frequent testing (Number of runs 10) distorts the results of GA.

    Of course I have nothing against this site because it is the best! And much more user-friendly and transparent than PageSpeedActivity in Pagespeed plugin.

    Otherwise, favoring speed pages is a great idea from Google.

  89. Matt, I’m glad you made the point about usability and making a site more visitor-friendly. Dial up hasn’t gone away yet, and unless, or until it does, page load speed is critical. Thanks!

  90. always speed and speed to get best rank, I think every SEOer should consider to compress css and images for website especially for themes, but how about flash file plugged on website matt? well, generaly I do understand about what you’ve explain upside and great appresiation for how to makes website fly, fly on speedload and also fly on SERP’s :D

    thanks a lot for share matt, hehe we’ve same first name, hope I could be like you.. on SEO hehe kidding matt :D

  91. hmm so thease web2.0 ultra js heavy sites that slow down to a crawl like gawker are going to be penalised? Does seem to posibly help the big players who can run there own kit.

  92. Wow! This will be great for designers who do things right. I love how Google makes the internet work like it’s supposed to.

  93. I dont think this is a bad thing especially when you look at the fact that many spam sites are slow as they are loading up near endless page length. HOWEVER – How will they handle something like a wordpress site where the point of the page almost if the that it is a long page that is pretty much tellig a story. Allowing for the fact that WordPress is used by millions this would have a serious impact surely on many of them, this page will be a good example after you give it a few weeks as it will get massive………

  94. cisco

    Can u point out which has more relevance between site speed (time to load the page) and latency of the server?
    Which is the new factor and was latency already considered as a ranking factor (best latency=more crawled pages?)

  95. John A Davis

    Maybe Consumer Reports will speed up their website because of this. Way too much javascript and cleveness.

  96. Hey,
    I really like this concept because let of peoples are using Mobile phone and if they get high speed sites then the work will be very easy for them.
    Thanks

  97. Running page speed on blogger made me

    Remove
    a) google friend connect
    b) link within widget

    could not remove
    a) adsense (Minimize DNS lookups)

    could not fix inbuild blogger css issues -suggested by page speed
    1) Minimize DNS lookups
    2) Use efficient CSS selectors
    3) Remove unused CSS
    4) Use efficient CSS selectors
    5) Leverage browser caching

  98. “average smaller web site can really benefit from this change”.
    I agree with you evan if i found that cbig companies has some ways to chenge the site really fast evan if they have tones of pages.

    They can pay more for hosting and increase speed site.
    But for 1% they wont pay mouch attention.

  99. Fast loading websites increase visitors chance of staying on the site. Heavy loading pages decrease your chances of keeping the attention of your readers. It just deters them from waiting for a webpage to load. So this is a good thing for Google. Great information.

  100. Amanda

    How are you going to consider the speed of the page?
    For instance : If my servers are in Argentina and my competitor´s are in the USA , would be consider the fact their servers its closer to Google´s?

  101. I think google incorporating site speed was just a matter of time as optimizing speed load is best practice. What about slow web hosting servers, shall migrate to faster ones or use more expensive CDN ?

  102. So, in a nutshell I should consider switching from Flash because I have splash pages that will take too long to load. That makes sense to me!

  103. I panic’d. But didn’t do anything in a hurry as that will more harm than good most of the times. Used the Page Speed tool now and made my site speed up considerably.
    Thanks for pushing me Matt.

  104. I think that this is a great challenge for small site owners. Hosting is a major expense and with this new changes from Google, we will be forced to invest on really good hosting company.

  105. Matt

    Most of the Google datacentres are in the US, so you get a different site speed if you load the page from your servers in the US than from Europe, where 95% of my site visitors are. Isn’t that a bit unfair?

    I welcome the initiative, are your methods of “Speed” measurement really matching the user’s web browsing experience?

    Joanna

  106. Matt so like everyone else that has Adsense on their sites, the question is: Should we be ditching Adsense as it is slowing down our sites soooo much or will Google make exceptions for Adsense scripts…?

    It’s an important question that needs a response soon as I’ve already started ditching some adsense off of my sites!

    I agree that a speedy website is a good thing for visitors, but if you can’t speed up Adsense or compensate for it……..

  107. Load Time is a matter of usability and accessibility. thus, one of the key priorities for any webmasters. For some webmasters, it just takes a little more encouragement to get their code up to speed. A good update for everyone and every time Google makes a big change, the Internet gets more better options.!

  108. It really looks like from the comments that some people haven’t read the blog post! :)
    1% of sites will be impacted. The question is: is your site already part of that ONE percent?. If yes, you should have been already worried before the announcement! If not, your Adsense is fine where it is.

    It’s that simple.

  109. I totally agree with Lucky Lester. Google should also integrate a “grammar police” function.
    So many sites are lacking the most obvious knowledge of the language. Whether it be English or French.

  110. I don’t think I could have said it better myself!

    A faster web is better for all, so giving better performing sites a slight edge makes a lot of sense…

    Google’s goal is to give web users what they want, as readily as possible – and that’s exactly what our goals as site owners should be.

  111. Matt,

    Thanks for the update.

    I recently moved one of the sites I look after from shared hosting to a dedicated server. Before I made the move it was creaking under the stress and this was reflected in crawl results. Following the move crawl results have increased significantly.

    I tracked the results using Google Webmaster tools and have shared a screenshot showing the marked difference.

    See the article here:

    How Your Hosting Affects Google Rankings

  112. Our 2 cents:

    First of all: We think emphasizing the importance of speed is a good thing.

    We always thought that our site was quite fast. After google implemented the “Site performance” feature in webmaster tools we noticed that our sites had an average load time of 5-9 seconds.

    How is google getting these numbers?
    We found out that Google measures the actual loading time of a page via Google Toolbar installed on millions of PCs. So the loading time you see in Webmaster Tools is the average loading time of all your pages (including images, scripts, css, empty cache!, …) measured by all visitors having Google Toolbar installed in their browsers. Technically, Google is measuring the time till the javascript event “window.onload” fires.

    After implementing a few changes, we were able to increase our site speed by over 300% (see this image for details).

    So, the interesting question is: Does it make sense to optimize a site for speed?
    In our case, after increasing our site speed, we noticed that we now have more visitors which stay longer on our sites, and generate more ad revenue (which is quite interesting).

    Regarding optimization techniques: We found out that increasing server speed won’t help in many cases. The most common problem is not the time for a page getting generated, but the time it takes to deliver all page objects (like images, …) the the end user (latency). Our recommendations: Reduce objects on a page, and think about using a CDN. After testing a few CDNs, we can really recommend CacheFly CDN (Affiliate Link).

    One last reason for optimizing:
    You will can save life time ;)
    In our case, we saved about 4 seconds for every page load, so our visitors save over one year every month in time waiting for our pages to load
    (not to be taken to serious ;)

  113. Great! This is good news for everybody, designer (who write manual correct html for site design), seo expert (who want to top rank on Google using Google algorithm). The speedy website is really good for visitors and customers.

  114. Do I understand right when thinking that if there are a number of websites dedicated to the same topic and the majority of them discuss the subject using text only while a few also provide pictures, videos, slide shows (i.e. give more visual information which takes more time to load on a page), then those few have less chances to rank better then those less informative but quicker text-only web pages due to the loading speed issue?

    Igor Lukyanov, Ukraine

  115. I think this is a great move by Google. Pardon the pun, but it was only a matter of time, but seriously think about it- those of us who spend all day long online are the best example-if a page is taking too long to load, we move on to the next without so much as a second thought. The announcement needs to remain in perspective however, just like any other change to the algorithm, this is one of more than 200 different factors and you said it loud and clear when you said that it would change less than 1% of search queries. Bottom line is the user experience needs to improve across the board and this is just the beginning. To faster loading…

  116. Matt,

    Recently When I re-built my whole web site, my speed has gone down. As a matter of fact it went my website only being 63% faster then rest of web sites on the web. It use to be almost 80%. At what point and time do I have to really worry about speed? I know you said it wont be much of a factor, but like you said we all want a fast web. Do you think it could be my cash?

    Thanks,

    Mark

  117. When a user enters a search term, he’s looking for the most relevant site, not the fastest site. I don’t understand how factoring the speed of a site into its ranking makes for a better experience for the searcher or how it will return a more accurate search result.

  118. This article makes me smile inside, because for years (when I was a low-level SEO consultant for a large domain registrar) I told my customers, “Invest in making your website faster, for the customers AND search engines”. Although I’m not doing consults anymore, at least now it’s official.

    Good stuff.

  119. Great idea. It makes a much better user experience. Also convinced me to change from shared hosting to a cloud hosting environment for not much more money per month.

  120. Peter (IMC)

    Matt,

    In Webmaster Tools the average load time that is indicated doesn’t seem to be correct at all. Load times of 4 seconds in reality are about 1 second. Using the FF plugin that’s suggested in webmaster tools I get scores of 80 to 90 % but webmaster tools seems to think the sites are slow. Some sites are indicated as fast, but comparing what Webmaster tools says are slow and fast sites doesn’t show any differences between them in load times.

    It’s not possible to make any decisions on what sites need work with this kind of weird data.

    Any idea why Google is so far off measuring load times?

  121. Hi Matt,

    I recently discovered my hosting company has been adding robot delay commands into the robots.txt file. I can’t change it and the delays are 5+ seconds. Yahoo says a 0.5-1 second is reasonable. I’m not the only one with these commands that are seemingly identical.

    http://www.google.com/search?sourceid=navclient&ie=UTF-8&rlz=1T4GGLL_enUS309US309&q=User-agent%3a+BoardReader+Crawl-delay%3a+8

    I’d like to know if Google is considering these delay commands or ignoring them for site speed calculations.

  122. This is a good idea, but obviously some care is needed to make sure it works correctly. For example, a site hosted in the States will respond faster to someone who is located a mile away from the data centre than for me in the UK. Some sort of averaging needs to be done after a series of speed checks from different servers across the globe.

    I don’t understand why people are worried about the time to load a long page versus what is ‘above the fold’. These people still don’t get the big picture about the Web as a medium. It goes beyond the standard screen into a world of differing resolutions, proportions, display medium (screen, audio, Braille, etc) and even things like Web snippets and content regurgitation as feeds, where the ‘typical’ set-up just doesn’t cut it any more.

    It will be interesting to see how this works, i.e. what speeds have a negative or positive impact, and whether it makes some of the larger, slower websites change. It definitely is a move that reflects the attitudes of the people who search though. Just looking at some of the comments here it’s plain to see how many people give up on slow-loading websites, and I count myself amongst them.

  123. Glenn

    I also think the WMT results seem quite off.

    An example are with two of my sites. Site A loads in 4.1 seconds according to WMT and site B loads in 1.9 seconds by WMT measurements.

    Now using a great tool like http://www.webpagetest.org/test , or yslow , or page speed test by google. The Site A is faster than Site B.

    Using the webpagetest.org from its 5 geographical locations shows to me that its not a geo issue. I even used different bandwidth options they provide to see if it was a bandwidth throttling issue, and it is not.

    The disparity between what WMT reports and 3 external tools showing opposite results, one even put out by Google, just makes zero sense.

  124. Finally! Server speed should definitely be a factor in determining page rank. Websites loaded with tons of useless javascript apps, popups, and images really irritate me. Needless to say, since I moved my website to a faster (and more expensive) VPS server, my traffic almost doubled and I’m making more adsense money. I guess the saying ‘you gotta spend money to make money’ really applies here.

  125. I’m an avid user of Google Optimizer and I’ve proven many times that by simply lowering the file-size of header images improves the overall conversion rate. Just a difference of 10kb can swing the results by a percent or two – try it now.

    I can see why Google have made this move and beg people to stop making the “web 2.0″ headers that take up the whole screen and can be over 200kb big, eek!

  126. From SEO perspective, I believe loading speed will never be a significant factor for better ranking. Here, in Europe, broadband and flat-rate are all over the place, and speed is increasing daily. Judging by what I hear from my overseas friends, things are not-so-rosy over there, but I believe they’ll be soon. Super-fast internet is inevitability. Slow-loading sites are becoming a thing of the past, thanks to new W3C standards and CSS implementation. Having said that, it’s always a good advice to fine-tune your site and implement some options to insure faster loading. It can never hurt.

  127. I agree with relicx, this is a good intention that will likely have bad consequences.

    I’m a photographer — and thus by definition, my sites require a lot of images. I’ve optimized the user experience — while sacrificing overall load times.

    Additionally, I compete against ‘pay/trade-for link farms’ for google rank — many wedding photographers do. Unfortuantely, those sites have very few images and instead just serve their paid-for links and no value-add content. Those sites will benefit from this change, while true photographers will be unduly punished for serving their value-add content (the actual images).

    If google doesn’t do this correctly and with scalpel-precision, this heavy handed ‘page-load-time’ is hurting their results. Perhaps this is the reason for the strange success of those link farms over the past year or so…?

  128. I’ve been under the impression that load time has been a ranking factor for at least a year or so, I think. Was there a previous announcement or just SEO gossip?

  129. I cannot imagine that most page load times are going to make much of a difference to most websites, some that are very slow may have a problem but to be honest I think this is fair enough. For years I have often see pages only partially cached because they load so slowly, this is of no use to the user either and in todays impulsive browsing world why would you make people wait to enter after doing the hard work and gaining the visit in the first place.

    I see a ton of comments about people bleating about can it drop page rank etc and it makes me wonder how they can be so naive, secondly the difference in benefit between different loading pages will only be a very small part of why you rank or not.

    If your site loads reasonably well then spend your time improving content and natural links.

  130. Mike Cravens

    Improving the User Experience>
    We did a website for a nonprofit community theater group who put on one large scale show with great attention to detail each year. The had their photographs showing the beautiful costumes and elaborate sets buried in thumbnails for a photo album on page 12. We put up a simple slideshow on the front page , showing a variety of images from their different shows over the last three years. The images have to be large format to show the scope of the sets and group choreography, etc. We have compressed the jpeg’s, and made them progressive for rapid initial rendering, but still face large “no cache” load times. Humans give the site rave reviews, and send their friends. We get viewings from New York and London, and have had people come from as far away as Canada to see our one great show each year

    Now, we can go back to the old dead photo album design, but that will wreck the user experience and our differentiation that we worked hard to get.

    (BTW, we don’t use any flash.)

    There ought to be room on the web for richer media. larger, more colorful photographs, and for sites that feature it.

    Regards,

    Mike Cravens
    Webmaster, mckinneysummermusicals.comd

  131. There is a big problem with google site speed in my opinion. Some websites are target for locals only, so some hosting company’s too. And for example our page is measured by google to load for 2.9 do 3.9 secs however this is our timing with the whole internet and our target is only our city or country and measured by only locals our speed is 1.3 – 1.5 s so, how google will handle this?

  132. As a software developer I’m really glad to see this new development, because it challenges us to do better. Nobody likes a slow loading site, and there needs to be strong reason for making it faster. Software developers need pressure on them to do better. For me, 3 seconds is way too long for a page to load, and there is really no excuse. Finally, I have to say that we are now exploring things like compressing the css and reducing the amount of javascript we need to load, and improving our caching. Thanks for setting a stronger benchmark. It’s good for the net as a whole.

  133. It’s really great way. I’ll follow up with you.

  134. As far as I can see, now the SERPs would really improve as searches are always considering quality results along with relevant information and fast website loading time. Besides, if a website is not loaded within the 3-6 seconds, there is no reason for a visitor to keep waiting for that site, there are other options for them already.

  135. Thanks for the advice Matt, I’m in the process of optimizing and reducing the number of images so hopefully it will help a little.

  136. This move will surely help users get the right information Faster. However, I feel that small companies who have a very limited local market will be the worst hit. After all, not all companies have a big hosting budget.

    Overall, it would help the end user.

  137. @Mike Cravens: I think a site needs to be balanced, the look is certainly important, but user experience, especially for those still on dialup or slower connections, depends on loading time alot.

  138. i love beautiful website with full accessories, but know, speed site performance is more important than site looks appear.. nice post.. i love your site !! it’s very clean :D

  139. While it’s easy to implement site speed on smaller sites, how to make bigger clients understand that their backend systems/ codes/ servers may need to change to improve site speed – thus improving site rankings. For a SEO to advise on such matters is easy, but the implementation could mean very high costs for the client. How to justify the ROI to the client when “site speed” is just one of the 200 ranking factors as mentioned by you?

  140. Even with decent speed you can still be at the mercy of your web host and hope the 99.9% uptime holds true. I have had clients tell me their old host was routinely down 3-5 days a month. That cannot help with rankings.

  141. Alex

    Hi,

    My question is to do with how this page speed is calculated and what location its judged from. I have a site thats optomised to load quickly but the location its tested from will ovbiouly have an effect on the speed.

    Is the location the speed test is run from determinded by

    A) The IP i.e it will be tested from the location nearest the server ip
    or
    B) The intended geographic target of the domain i.e the TLD like .co.uk

    All the best. Alex

  142. Site speed is apparently a problem for my site. I am only using godaddy which inst the best. i get the feeling its more like the wall mart of hosting. oneandone have always been fast but i hate the way they charge for like 6 months up front.

    im curious what kind of affect this will have on the hosting resellers and lower tier resellers. the servers not on the tier 12 backbones. guess they will need to up their game a bit.

  143. Thank you for being the voice of google. Seeing this site speed thing at first freaked me out. Your explanation helped a lot. Too bad you can’t get a bunch of people from google to let you make this the official google blog for webmasters and post everything google that webmasters would be interested in.. namely SEO.

  144. Its a small but important change. Let’s face it; a site may have a number 1 ranking but if it doesn’t load in say 4-5 seconds then your off anyway. I think its a good thing…

    Good on you Google for making this info available to webmasters. What they choose to do with that information is up to them.

  145. Glenn

    I am like others seeing the largest % of what is “slow” being adsense/analytics. So the irony is to rank higher in google we should remove the slowest components since we have no control to make it faster..

  146. I’ve read that if a page doesn’t load up within a few seconds on say a not so fast dsl connection (not sure anyone uses dial up anymore, lol) that you’ll lose a pretty large percentage of visitors. I’ve noticed the things that really slow down a site are third party java script apps (like live person) that have to communicate with a remote server. Once this news become ubiquitous, I see harder times for these java apps.

  147. Dear Matt, I always read your blogs, and all are always very informative. Can you please tell that What page speed is considered good for a website ?

  148. Matt, I can accept that yes there were some websites out there with terrible load times, but I think the vast majority of us always try our best to fully optimize our sites. That said, it is also true that the vast majority of us use shared hosting & cannot afford to compete with fully established websites or big businesses that have dedicated servers & therefore are very unlikely to be affected by this. Also I find it very hypercritical for Google to adopt this policy on site speed, when in fact their own Analytics, Adsense & Custom Search have a terrible effect on site load times. What if anything does Google intend to do about this..?

  149. How can anyone complain against incorporate site speed as a metric for rankings? Surely we all want the web to be faster? Who better to encourage this trend than Google. They have a means to leverage this, to get people to move towards better code through incorporating this in their ranking algorithm. I can’t see what there is to complain against?

  150. It seems that Google is trying to blacklist or rather i say punishing the poor companies; who does not have plenty of spare money to spend on fast servers or cloud hosting in comparision of big companies have a big hosting budget.I feel that small companies who have a very limited local market will be the worst hit. Is it right practice ?
    Anand Saini

  151. As a few others have hinted at, “On whose hardware will the speed be ranked?” On average home users machines or Google’s machines? What is the intention? To give smaller sites a boost, or to influence fancy websites to cut back on the design?

  152. “A faster web is better for all, so giving better performing sites a slight edge makes a lot of sense…”

    Agreed — but what’s better, A) a site that takes 10 seconds to completely load before showing anything… or B) one that takes 1 second before filling the screen and then loads the rest in background for the next 20 seconds.

    I’d suggest B is going to offer the better user experience. But A is going to have a faster ‘load time’ and is going to be given a boost by google… Thus google will be actually advocating a WORSE user experience. That’s not good.

  153. Hey Matt,

    Are you still travelling..? Is this why there is no response to my question on what Google is planning to do about the fact that Google Adsense, Analytics & Custom Search all have a terrible effect on site load times..?

    Oh & just for the record this is no conspiracy theory, it is a fact, as reported by several different websites.

    Cheers Steve

  154. Hi Matt
    I had thought that with the higher speeds of broadband these days, page speed did not matter any more.
    Well, i guess i will have to get back to image optimization and reducing those file sizes.
    Arthur

  155. Wow, I guess I am late to the news. Anyways, I checked up my site with your site speed module, and optimized quite a lot of things, such as my images, and gziped some javascript.

    1 thing I found concerning me is usually the most important aspect we do not have most control of is the actual server. If I am on shared host, my site will load slower than one on a dedicated server. Do you take account the actual “load times” from the server, or how big the size of the page is?

  156. Riz

    As the internet speed gets better every day we should be able to use more image and desgn in our websites. why would speed matter?

  157. Dear Matts,

    Sites are meant for clients not for search engines

  158. @RIZ

    Google has been clear on the fact that the website’s speed is only one of more than 200 ranking factors. This means that traditional factors (content, relevance and links) remain more important than site speed.

  159. Its a good move from Google. We should appreciate it rather making harsh comments it is among the top 200 factors and is not the only factor to that rank sites in SERPs. The question is what weightage Google gives to the page speed factor when compared with remaining 199 factors. Any new factor incorporated will never get the same weightage as the top 10 factors, so instead of wasting time on discussing demerits of the factor it would be rather intelligent move to listen to what Google suggest you to do and follow it.

  160. Wondering how much users (from the total of internet users) have the Google Toolbar running in either IE or FF? Is there somehow a percentage visible ? Is the number for Performance shown in the Google Webmaster Tool a deviation that i really can trust ? What I mean isn’t it important to know what figures are influencing the Performance value in the webmaster tools like: how many users in which region use the toolbar. how many users of my webpage in total have the toolbar installed (i would think that for a tekky blog less users have it installed). I really would love to know the statistics (if one knows where to find it PLEASE…). Else I might do performance work for no sense on my web-page. TIA

  161. Webmaster Tools Site Performance and password protected / secure areas on your website?

    We have optimised the front end of an e-commerce site – it’s now very quick. However, each product has 250 variance images. The administration area of the website loads in 250 images per product page – without loading in these the site would be impossible to administrator.

    The issue is that Google Webmaster tool monitors these ‘secure’ pages in Site Performance – hence the site is classed SLOW.

    How does it do this, and how can we stop it? Anyone had this issue?

  162. These days I am looking for information on relationship of comments with SEO and Wesite speed. Here is what I know so far, though I don’t know how much this info is correct, and what I want to know more.

    My comment may include some info irrelevant to Page Title but I need help in those areas too, if you can.

    I am using Disqus comment system. Recently I was planning to make all the comments nofollow for search engine spiders. I thought it would do two things for me:

    a) Because comments are not shown to Google Crawler at all after making them NoFollow, so the page speed will be increased.

    b) Comments might ruin the on-page keywords, so NO Comments means better control over keywords and ranking.

    But after reading your article it seems that Google checks the speed with Google Toolbar and because Comments load on user side, even after making them NoFollow, so NoFollow won’t leave any impact on page speed.

    Secondly someone told me over twitter that Google loves dynamic content and comments are a good source to make the content dynamic.

    After this I decided not to remove the comments or make them nofollow.

    Now I am little confused what I should do.

    Should I remove the comments at all, make them nofollow (a feature in Disqus that disables server side rending of comments and makes the comments invisible to spiders) or leave as they are??

    And what should I use, the disqus commenting system or wordpress native system considering all aspects, esp SEO and Speed?

    Thanks.

  163. Matt, I just wanted to thank you for this post and really just everything you write. I read this post a while ago and since then added CDN’s to all my sites and upgraded to dedicated hosting. I’ve decreased my load times by 25% – 33%. I haven’t seen a big jump in rankings yet, but I know my user experience is better.

  164. First of all thanks for the post. I do have to say this is definitely an advantage to smaller sites and business. The reason being is because with larger sites and businesses we deal with a lot of complication s that come with trying to speed up our sites. As a SEO I see the benefit and potential but getting the rest of the IT department on board can sometimes be difficult. So hopefully I can get our site much faster in 2011 and see the resulting impact.

  165. we are working on some site speed issues that came up at we expanded an areas of our site and I immediately have noticed a drop in rankings -I can only assume this is because of site speed. hopefully once we get the speed back up our ranking with jump back up. Otherwise I am stumped.

  166. I just got a question from a site that is interested in using HTTPS. While it’s true that HTTPS can cause a little more load time in terms of round trips, that tends to be a very small factor compared to other parts of the page, including whether there are blocking scripts/stylesheets, whether the resources are compressed, reliance on slow third party widgets, etc. So HTTPS alone is unlikely to cause a significant slowdown in user-perceived load time. Remember also that site speed, while a factor in our rankings, only impacts a very small number of sites.

    So my answer about HTTPS is: as long as you implement HTTPS intelligently, I wouldn’t worry about that being a factor in our rankings. Not to mention that HTTPS can be great for users because of the privacy and security benefits.

  167. Good advice Matt, can you explain about “implement HTTPS intelligently” ?

  168. Here is some interesting “research” on the subject:
    http://stackoverflow.com/questions/1468648/https-vs-http-speed-comparison

    In the case above https IMPROVED the speed of the site over http; probably because there was less chatter on the https port in this shared hosting environment.

  169. pie

    I read this Matt : HTTPS is great: here’s why everyone needs to use it (so we can too) : http://goo.gl/Sx7CL

  170. Ruud

    Hey Matt, i have a question about HTTPS, what does it do regarding to links. I see a lot of people linking to my website with only http://www.website.com or http://www.website.nl I have redirected does url’s to the https:// version of the website. But i wonder if these links have just as much power as links that would link with the proper URL.

    Thanks in advance!

  171. Thanks for a great post. I have been considering implimenting this on one of my sites. :)

  172. Roelant

    That all makes sense, but everywhere this is being discussed the focuses is on the assumed/potential speed-decrease that HTTPS might cause. My concern is for the incoming links and their value.

    If I’d make a few assumptions on “implementing it intelligently”, my guess would be: no significant performance loss (add extra servers if needed) and old (http-) page would forward with a nice “301 moved permanently” to the new (https-) address. These are all variables that you can influence for your own site, and if done properly, I can see how that doesn’t change Google’s judgment on the page itself.

    But another important variable in SEO are the incoming links – and those you can’t influence. Off course this isn’t an issue for new links (they would all be https), but existing links cannot be changed or influenced directly and they still point to the non secure http-page. They would nicely forward (considering the 301 redirect), but it’s widely assumed that forwarding-links are valued less by Google than direct links to the page itself. So would their link-value decrease? And therefore, would this influence the ranking of the page itself?

  173. =JeffH

    WRT “implement HTTPS intelligently” see also..

    How to Deploy HTTPS Correctly, Chris Palmer, EFF, 15 Nov 2010
    https://www.eff.org/pages/how-deploy-https-correctly

  174. I am so glad – very irritating to users of long pages, and the need for a long time to scroll through. There are many methods to reduce page load times – just do not have to be lazy and need to think a head, and then everything will be OK!

  175. Hi Matt,

    In your article on site speed (www.mattcutts.com/blog/site-speed/), you mentioned that “reliance on slow third party widgets” would affect load time more significantly than implementing HTTPS. Since Google themselves provide one of the slowest widgets I’ve worked with, I was hoping you could quantify “slow.” I am looking to incorporate other widgets on a client site and I need to know where to draw the line for widget loading time.

    Thanks

  176. Hello matt…. I don’t really understand what you meant by “you can focus on some very easy, straightforward, small steps that can really improve how users perceive your site.” so what are those small steps exactly? I am fairly new to this SEO thing. Thank you so much!
    -Jane

  177. I just added some php script optimization and am now hosting on a VPS instead of a shared server, hopefully this will help out a little since the last solution of terrible. As far as page rank is calculated I think that is the next area I need to work on.

  178. Matt-

    I realize this was written over a year ago, but isn’t the easiest step to install some sort of caching software on a site, and then optimize from there?

    The thought being, many will digress into deeper technical functions that cause slow load time, and while that may be valid for a longer term fix, in the short term caching software could improve a sites performance significantly right away (easy on WordPress).

    Thoughts?

  179. Yes, I have tried to implement some of the changes suggested, but overall it does not seem to be a critical issue. There are other issues that should given more importance than the speed of the website at which it loads.

    With faster broadband and 3G in place, there is not much sleep to be lost on this relatively small issue.

  180. Hi, just want to ask if there is a Google penalty for slow site speed. Thanks.

  181. I really like these strategies, however I also want to add youtube. You can attract quality backlinks and traffic by Building a solid youtube profile, adding few interesting videos, linking your videos from other sources and by commenting on other videos.

  182. Something i have often wondered is if i am in New Zealand and Google is in US when they index a site does Google take into consideration that the site is hosted in a different country and give consideration for this in the site speed?

  183. Hi Matt,
    Great article, I think that speed on websites is becoming more and more important these days with a high percentage of browsers now using mobile devices. Nobody will sit and wait for your site to load no matter how good you think it is.

  184. Are these strategies still valid as of today???

  185. Thanks for the great post. Do you know how to speed up Joomla sites?

    Thanks

    Paul

  186. funny, after a long post asking for suggestions I click post comment and it erases it all and says I am recognized as spammer. I have never even posted much anywhere in any blogs or forums before this.

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