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Page load speed and Google rankings

Posted by Michael Bloch in web marketing (Wednesday November 18, 2009 )

The widespread adoption of broadband should have brought us all blistering page load times. But some designers and programmers decided to suck up that extra bandwidth with complex pages that really don’t need to be. This bit of news might have them reconsidering.

Matt Cutts from Google said in a recent interview there is strong lobbying within the company to introduce a new ranking factor into the algorithm – page load time. Page load speed is already a factor in Adwords – a heavy, slow loading page can bump up the click price an advertiser has to pay.

You can hear more from Matt about this in the video below. The first half of the interview is mainly about Google Caffeine, but he talks about page load speed from about 2 minutes 35 seconds into the clip.

Matt mentions an application called PageSpeed – it’s an open-source Firefox/Firebug Add-on to evaluate the performance of of web pages and to get suggestions on how to improve them. PageSpeed can be downloaded here.

You can also pick up some tips in my article “Web page load time optimization“.

By the way, it’s not just your own pages you need to consider, but 3rd party ads being displayed; particularly Flash based ads – some of them are not only huge bandwidth suckers, but CPU hogs as well. I’ve caught a few of them maxing out my CPU and it’s incredibly annoying.

While on the top of page load times, Comscore have announced a new capability for measuring page load data, which will allow web site operators to benchmark the performance of their sites vs. their competitors.


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