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Search Engine Optimization Tips and Tricks – Learn how to increase visibility in Search Engines – Part 35 – The impact of page speed upon search engine optimization




In the previous post (SEO and inline code / CSS), I talked about the impact of having a large amount of extra stuff in your files, such as scripting code and CSS, and how this can potentially impact your SEO optimization levels and your ranking. In this post, the focus is going to be on site speed and its implication for search engine ranking (specifically for Google, but one would assume for other search engines later as well).
Having pages that are loading quickly is an important factor in ensuring that your readers do not get turned off from your site. So, if you have a lot of JavaScript or calculated logic inside your pages (or use Flash or other rich media extensively, even for simple tasks such as navigation controls), there are a number of readers who will find your pages through search engine results and then get turned off since the page takes too long to load (you would do well to consider your own behavior when you find a site that loads very slowly, or that has large images which take a long time to load, and then extrapolate the same behavior to your readers as well).
Here are some specific tools from Google that will help in evaluating your speed levels (link). Be sure to evaluate your page for both size and speed, and take a number of steps to reduce the time taken for such pages to be served to your readers (contrary to common misconception, your server / host capabilities is not the only factor, there are a number of other steps that can be taken to reduce the page loading times).
Google recently came out with a post (Google Blog) that talks about how Google is starting to use site speed as a factor in terms of ranking sites (and even though they significantly understate the implications of this change, one should be sure that it is going to be a factor that is more important when you challenge the more prominent search engine rankings).

You may have heard that here at Google we’re obsessed with speed, in our products and on the web. As part of that effort, today we’re including a new signal in our search ranking algorithms: site speed. Site speed reflects how quickly a website responds to web requests.
Speeding up websites is important — not just to site owners, but to all Internet users. Faster sites create happy users and we’ve seen in our internal studies that when a site responds slowly, visitors spend less time there. But faster sites don’t just improve user experience; recent data shows that improving site speed also reduces operating costs. Like us, our users place a lot of value in speed — that’s why we’ve decided to take site speed into account in our search rankings. We use a variety of sources to determine the speed of a site relative to other sites.

So, the point is clear. In addition to other factors, consider how fast your page loads as part of your checklist for Search Engine Optimization (and consider changing your SEO expert if they have not been asking you about page speeds – it is quite clear that they are not keeping up with SEO news). Use a number of tools for the same. Follow a number of steps:
1. Complex scripting is avoided or moved to a different location from it is downloaded (and maybe cached)
2. Keep the size of all components on a page such as images, videos, etc optimized
3. Move heavier objects off your site and onto other faster loading domains (such as images onto external sites that provide image hosting, videos converted to Flash and served from Youtube, etc)




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