The Official Google Webmaster Blog announced on Friday that Google are using the loading time of your sites as a ranking factor. It’s been rumoured for some time, especially when Google announced Google Page Speed and integrated their findings into Google Webmaster Tools, but now we have confirmation from the big G itself. Google are playing down it’s impact saying:
Currently, fewer than 1% of search queries are affected by the site speed signal in our implementation and the signal for site speed only applies for visitors searching in English on Google.com at this point. We launched this change a few weeks back after rigorous testing. If you haven’t seen much change to your site rankings, then this site speed change possibly did not impact your site.
Even so 1% of sites on a competitive query that returns 750,000,000 results is still 750,000 results. I’m sure everyone would like to rank 750,000 places higher and a few simple optimization tricks can help.
5 simple tricks to speed up load times
1) Optimize your images for the web. Back when we were all on dial-up modems this practise was the norm but it has fallen by the wayside as we switched to big fat broadband connections. With the increase in mobile Internet use, optimised images are again in demand. Most image editing programs have a “save for web” feature that will walk you through the image optimisation process.
3) Use a fast, reliable hosting company. At Denial Design we have optimised our hosting environment to give the fastest response times we can to user requests. We’ve enabled on the fly compression of various file types to improve loading speeds. Most sites we host have seen a 10 – 15% decrease in load times due to the optimisation of the servers, and all for just £65 a year per site.
4) Avoid “hotlinking” to images. Not only does it earn you the wrath of the original host but it increases load times as extra DNS requests are needed to find the site you’ve linked the image from.