Google’s Matt Cutts recently suggested that Google may soon pay more attention to the speed of a web page in their ranking algorithm; Google seems to believe that faster websites in the search results make the searching experience better.
What can you do to make your web pages faster?
Choose a reliable web hosting company that has fast connections to the Internet. Your web site should be hosted on a web server that is be easy to reach and has a good level of availability (up time).
In addition to choosing a fast web host, the following will make your web pages faster:
- Combine external CSS files into one file and compress your CSS files to make the CSS file smaller.
- Enable gZip compression if your web server supports it; your web hosting compaqny may have yo do this for you.
- Try to keep the number of images on your website to a minimum and compress your images. Most image tools allow you to choose the compression rate when saving an image for the web.
- Analyse your web pages to get an idea of the speed of your website and compare your website to the websites of your competitors.
Is it a good idea to use the loading time in the ranking algorithm?
Fast loading web pages are good for search users, but using the web page loading time in the search results ranking algorithm could cause problems for smaller businesses:
- Businesses will be forced to choose faster and perhaps more expensive web hosting providers if they want to be found high up in the search results.
- Businesses with a low income or from a country with slow Internet connections won’t be able to compete.
- The big websites will get bigger and the small websites will get smaller.
Health Warning: the role of the page loading time in Google’s ranking algorithm isn’t clear yet so the above points are speculative.
It is always a good idea to optimise the loading time of your web pages, regardless of the effect of loading time on your search results rankings. The faster your web pages load, the more visitors to your website are likely to see the contents of your pages.
Web surfers are impatient people; the average web surfer expects immediate results. That is enough reason for your website to be fast loading.
Don’t overlook making sure your web pages also contain clearly arranged content that is easy to read. You should assess the readability of your web pages; you can even calculate a Flesch/Kincaid readability score, the higher the score, the more difficult your web pages are to read.