By Chris Longo, Natural Search Supervisor, Content Solutions
Matt Cutts (Google SEO demi-god) recently shared with the SEO community at Pubcon that page speed is going to be a ranking factor. It seemed like the entire industry was in an uproar with this development but in reality this is old news. Reducing page speed and loading has been an essential best practice for years. The engines love the aspect of usability for sites within their index. When a site loads quickly and contains relevant content, the respective site is providing the user with ‘ease’ of use.
With the upcoming Caffeine update, this will be even more of issue. The goal of the Caffeine update is to speed up search results and if a site lags these results one could come to the conclusion that this will not seen favorably by Google. There are several ways to identify if your site is lagging behind. Below are some suggestions to find out your sites page speed:
- Use a spider simulator that identifies code bloat - a general best practice is to keep html under 100k. By using a spider simulator you can see how the site matches up against this benchmark.
- Google Webmaster Tools site performance analyzer
- Page Speed for Mozilla – stated by Cutts during his address, you will need Firebug installed first.
Now that you have identified the speed of your site, what are the next steps? The first is link up with your technical team to identify the issue. Secondly, find out where you can “trim the fat” of the site, while still maintain the integrity of its architecture and aesthetics. Thirdly, moving forward develop fast and user-friendly sites by utilizing the above tools so that the site is properly complying to this latest algorithmic change.