The speed of your website and what it means for your business

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Over the last few months Google has been sending signals that the speed at which web pages are rendered would be an important factor in its secret and almighty algorithm that decides how websites are ranked.

So should you consider slashing the content of your site and get rid of your artwork and visual effects to increase speed?

In short, my answer is no. If your site is properly set up, it can still score the highest Google page speed. (See technical explanation how Google measures page speed.) What matters, when it comes to how search engines evaluate the speed of web pages, is not the volume of material or the richness of your artwork but how well the website is organised.

We recommend, following Google's advice, making conversion of your site the primary focus. In other words, the priority is to create good marketing-focused content and artwork for your website. Once those are in place, then it's time to work on page and site speed optimization.

This involves working on three levels:

1Making sure that the content on your web pages is set up as best as possible – or at least better and faster than your competition;

2Making sure that the site as whole is coded and structured to quickly move and render your web pages;

3And, finally, making sure that the hosting server works at a reliable and steady pace.

Technicalities of website speed matrix – Firebug's Page speed

The actual speed of rendering a website and loading it to your browser depends on a number of factors such as the bandwidth of your Internet connection. For its search ranking algorithm, Google only takes into account the speed defining factors that are related to the website and the hosting environment. We also understand that relative speed weighs more heavily in the ranking algorithm than the absolute speed.

To measure relative page speed Google, with the help of an open source development community, Firebug, has developed a tool called Page speed. It scores how well the developers of a given website have followed best practices to achieve the fastest possible web page rendering using a given artwork.

Absolute speed factors that are related to the website and the hosting environment include how well the site is structured, and whether the hosting server is serving the Internet at a steady and reliable speed.