Google announced yesterday that site speed is now a ranking factor. Of course, they’ve putting some emphasis on site speed for some time now and there has been threats that site speed could become a ranking factor. It’s finally happened.
Why is this important?
Because users like websites that load faster. And they always have.
Since about, oh, 2001 or so, users have been more and more unpatient at page load times. Slower page load times means that site visitors are more likely to bounce out and go somewhere else. I’ve done it and you’ve likely done it too.
Here’s what Google has to say about page load times:
Studies have repeatedly shown that speeding up your site leads to increased user retention and activity, higher revenue and lower costs. Towards the goal of making every webpage load as fast as flipping the pages of a magazine, we have provided articles on best practices, active discussion forums and many tools to diagnose and fix speed issues.
So there you have it. Page load times have always been important but they’ve become much more important in the last couple of years. And isn’t it ironic that it’s happening just about the time that video marketing is becoming more and more fashionable?
Site speed is not just about making sure you don’t have too many videos and huge graphic files on your server. It includes a whole web development plan that includes where your files are located on the server, how they are recalled by browsers and in what order and how much code you actually have built into your pages. It all really boils down to web development best practices. And it’s not too late to start considering those.