Let me start with this fact: Google is ALL about speed.
It’s evident in their products (like their fairly new Chrome browser) and their constant improvements to Google search engine (like their new Google Instant addition).
Even in their core philosophy, referred to as “Ten Things”, it’s stated:
“Fast is better than slow. We know your time is valuable, so when you’re seeking an answer on the web you want it right away – and we aim to please.”
Read more on that:
With their unquestionable need to speed in mind, Google recently added a new signal in their search engine ranking algorithms:
DEFINITELY watch this great video by Google on what site speed is, how to calculate it, why you should bother with it, and more.
Site speed basically refers to how quickly your site loads in response to web requests.
The quicker it loads, the happier you make both your visitors and Google – and that, my friend, is a great place to be.
So how do you know your site speed is up to par?
Here is a list of tools to help you determine that:
- Page Speed, an open source Firefox/Firebug add-on that evaluates the performance of web pages and gives suggestions for improvement.
- 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.
Of course, site speed is only one of more than 200 factors of Google search algorithm.
Plus, as of right now, it still only applies for visitors searching in English on Google.com.
Can you afford to ignore site speed for now? Maybe. But I wouldn’t.
Why? Because Google talks too much about it, showing how significant it really is. Plus it makes your readers happy.
Question: Are you going to add site speed tweaking to your to-do list or are you going to just shove this whole idea into a dark “maybe some day” corner of your brain?