Monday, May 03, 2010

SPEED: Google Says It Matters

Google has sent strong signals and indications that the download speed of webpages does matter for SERPs. So, a faster download of the webpage, not only helps the visitor to stick to the page for longer time with better user experience and to improve conversions. Now, it will be one of the important factors in the ranking in the search results page in Google.

While site speed is a “new” signal, it may not carry as much weight as the relevance of a page, title tag of the page or the content on the page. Google Webmaster Central says that, currently, less than 1% of search queries are affected by the site speed signal and the signal for site speed only applies for visitors searching in English on at this point (April 2010).

With Page Speed, Google will be able to comfy with the website performance in no time and will be able to provide us the suggestions to make it better. Page Speed is open-source Firefox / Firebug add-on. Page Speed performs several tests on a site's web server configuration and front-end code. These tests are based on a set of best practices known to enhance web page performance. Webmasters who run Page Speed on their pages get a set of scores for each page and helpful suggestions to improve its performance.

Page Speed evaluates performance from the user’s point of view, typically measured as the page load time. This is the lapsed time between the moment a user requests a new page and the moment the page is fully rendered by the browser. The best practices cover many of the steps involved in page load time, including resolving DNS names, setting up TCP connections, transmitting HTTP requests, downloading resources, fetching resources from cache, parsing and executing scripts, and rendering objects on the page. Essentially Page Speed evaluates how well your pages either eliminate these steps altogether, parallelize them, and shorten the time they take to complete. The best practices are grouped into five categories that cover different aspects of page load optimization:

Webmasters can as well use these free tools to evaluate the download speed test for the web pages / website.

  • YSlow, a free tool from Yahoo! that suggests ways to improve website speed.
  • WebPagetest shows a waterfall view of your pages' load performance plus an optimization checklist.
  • In Webmaster Tools, Labs > Site Performance shows the speed of your website as experienced by users around the world.

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