This month, Google made another change to their rankings algorithm--to account for site speed.
It makes sense, since Google's goal, when ranking sites, is to provide the best, most informative information to their searchers (so that those searchers come back again and again)--and if a website doesn't load in an appropriate amount of time, those users are less likely to be completely satisfied with their search results.
While this will only affect less than 1% of the rankings across Google (don't fret!), it is important to start taking load times into account. Here are a few simple things you can do to make sure your site is running at a reasonable speed:
- Check your site on a tool like YSlow, which will tell you which pages are going slow and how to speed things up.
- Get rid of wonky code. In the Atlas Content Management System--and some other systems--you can, with a simple click or two, remove all wonky code from any of your pages. Since you have full control over your content, you also have control over the code behind your content and having unnecessary code on your page can slow things down. If you're an Atlas client and want a quick tutorial, give your Account Executive a call.
- Size your images correctly before upload. Before you put your images into a Content Management System or onto a website, make sure to size them correctly on your computer or have your website agency do it for you. Images that are uploaded in large format and then resized in HTML in a system will still be considered "large images" and may still slow down your users.
If you're interested in reading more, check out Matt Cutts' blog.