Google officially counts ‘Site Speed’ as a ranking factor – so what now?

Last week, Google officially announced that site speed is now a ranking factor in their search results algorithm.

Based on numerous studies that show Internet users prefer faster pages, Google conducted their own tests – purposely slowing down search results pages and then measuring the impact on the users’ search behavior.

“When we slow our own users down [on], we see less engagement,” said Google Fellow Amit Singhal. “Users love fast sites. A faster web is a good thing all around.”

So what does this mean for your website’ search rankings? At this point, not a whole lot.  “Quality should still be the first and foremost concern [for site owners],” according to Matt Cutts, head of Google’s web spam team. “This change affects outliers; we estimate that fewer than 1% of queries will be impacted. If you’re the best resource, you’ll probably still come up.”

That said, the results from Google’s study (and those from numerous other studies) should not be ignored. We should always look for ways to provide the best overall user experience, and that includes optimizing your site’s information so that it can be delivered as quickly as possible. Nobody likes to wait, especially in today’s ADD-centric society. And if it helps us rank higher on Googles SERPs, then all the better.

Read the full article on search engine land.

Tim Alexander is the director of digital operations for MDG where he provides the strategic and experiential direction for our clients’ interactive pursuits. MDG’s digital operations division provides the following services: digital brand development, research, website architecture design, site development, CMS, intranets, social media initiatives, blog development and SEO services such as site audits, keyword research and content development, competitive analysis and direct link building.

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