Google Wants Only Fast Sites

The search engine giant Google loves speed in every aspect of their business, so it was no surprise when they announced that one ranking factor they take into account when ranking a site is how fast the site loads for the user. While it will not be the most important factor in ranking a site, this is big news for those interested in web design optimization, especially when you are trying to gain a few precocious spots on that first page of the search results.

It should come as no surprise to anyone in the SEO industry that Google has included site speed in their algorithm. They are obsessed with making their search engine the best experience possible for the end user, and they seem to be doing a good job since they are the largest one by far. When a site loads faster, people are obviously going to be happier. This is not just a good thing for ranking a site, but for the user experience on your site in general. When a site loads fast, people are less likely to leave due to frustration.

Now that you know that you need to be aware of how fast your site loads, you should have the tools available in order to speed up your site. Here are some of the best free tools that are available that are recommended by Google:

  • Page Speed – This is a nice little plugin for FireFox that you can use to evaluate the speed on each page and then it will give you some recommendations on how you can speed up that site.
  • YSlow - A free tool from Yahoo that analyzes a site and then suggests how you can speed up the load time.
  • WebPagetest – A nice little tool that shows your load times in a waterfall method, which gives the user a good visual. Also, they give you a great optimization checklist that you can follow to speed up your site.
  • Webmaster Tools – Google has their own speed tool, which can be found in the Labs area under the name Site Performance. This tool will show you how your site is accessed all around the world.

Google also offers a ton of other tools for developers at in their Developers section.

Again, Google has stated that this is not a huge part of their ranking factors, as it is only affecting around one percent of the current search queries. However, they have stated that while it is not a huge ranking factor and most people are not hurt by the change, it can certainly help the user experience if nothing else. It is considered a best practice to make your site load as quickly as you can, which is a big part of optimized web design, which is all about making your site as user-friendly as possible.