In a move that is raising eyebrows in the online marketing world, Google is intimating that companies with Web sites that download faster than those of competitors could soon be given preference in Google search engine returns.
The statement, made by Matt Cutts, a high profile software architect at the Web search titan, reflects a larger initiative underway at Google, in which the company is searching for ways to make Web browsing even faster and easier.
”One of the things we care deeply about at Google is speed,” agrees Bharat Mediratta, a principal engineer at the company. “We want users to have the fastest possible search experience.”
Sites like WaterFurnace
, and Silestone
should do relatively well under the changed search requirements, since their sites download relatively quickly in comparison to some other green industry sites.
The growing problem with tortoise-like Web sites is rooted to a great degree in the evolution of Web site design, which has witnessed the blossoming of ever-more spectacular sites—and resulting code that is often much more resource-sapping.
“As Web 2.0 technologies like Ajax and DHTML have become more widespread, Web sites have grown more complex. The size of the average web page has tripled in five years, while the average number of objects has doubled,” says Andrew B. King, author of Website Optimization
. “All of this largess has led to inevitable slowdowns in display speeds. Some argue that with bandwidth inexorably increasing, slow response times have become less of an issue than in our dial-up past. The data show otherwise,” he says.
King, along with other less-is-more evangelists, has been pushing the idea for years that Web marketers and others need to continuously look for ways to make Web page downloads as fast as possible – lest visitors click away in frustration.
Indeed, a 2009 study released by Portland State University and Bogazici University by researchers Seneler, Basoglu and Daim confirmed what most of us already probably take for granted: When it comes to performance on Web sites, nothing is more important than speed.
Interestingly, Google’s mulling of site speed as a new factor in ranking search engine returns is emblematic of an over-arching initiative at the company of late to make Web browsing as fast and easy as possible.
Late last year, for example, the company rolled out a pilot-test of a brand new algorithm for its search engine, which is designed to make Google run faster, enable the search engine to index more pages, ensure greater accuracy, and bring back results that are more relevant.
Code-named “Caffeine,” Google’s algorithm overhaul will most likely be rolled-out across the entire Google system early in 2010, according to Cutts. “The feedback on Caffeine has been very positive,” he adds.
While the hammer has yet to come down on whether or not speed will become an official page rank factor on Google, it still makes good business sense to ensure your company’s pages are as lean and mean as possible.
Here are some tools to help you along:
—Joe Dysart is an Internet speaker and business consultant based in Manhattan. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Web: www.joedysart.com.
- PAGE SPEED VIDEO TUTORIAL: Google offers an overview of its speed initiative in this video, including a video example of how Page Speed analyzes a specific site, and how it can be used to auto-create optimization solutions for speed bottlenecks.
- WEB PAGE ANALYZER: This is an online site performance analysis tool that can be used with virtually any browser. Simply enter the address for any page of your Web site, and analyzer will look for, speed deficiencies in your page’s design, and offer solutions. The tool is offered free by King’s site, WebSiteOptimization.com.
- WEBSITE AUDITOR: This is a multi-purpose analysis tool that offers design suggestions on how to speed up your site, and will also show you how your site stacks up against competing Web sites.
- 14 RULES FOR FASTER-LOADING WEB SITES: This is a handy check-list for designers looking to quickly optimize their designs, by Steve Souders, author of “High Performance Web Sites” and “Even Faster Web Sites.” Souder says he has been able to speed up Web pages by 25%-50%, simply by following these rules.
- YAHOO’S BEST PRACTICES FOR SPEEDING UP YOUR WEB SITE: Offered by the Yahoo! Developer Network, this is a fairly detailed checklist on how to maximize your site for speed. You may not understand all the acronyms, but you’ll be able to use the checklist to confirm with your Web designer that he/she has bullet-proofed your site against major speed gremlins.
- WEBSITE OPTIMIZATION by Andrew B. King: This is King’s second and expanded book on Web site optimization. For speed optimization, he recommends various ways to tweak your Web site code, including how to shrink video files.