Last week, Google confirmed that they are considering a sites load time in their search rankings. This is because Google is obsessed with giving its users the best, most relevant content when they are searching online. Considering site speed will make sure they are getting higher quality websites in their results.
What does this mean for website owners?
Web users tend to have ADD when they come to a website. If the page doesn’t load fast, they click the back button and go to the next site. They don’t have time to wait around for a thousand images to load. So having a fast site has always been important if you want your visitors to stay and check it out.
Now having a slow site can also cost you rankings. If your site and your competitor’s site are basically equal when it comes to SEO value, but their site is fast while yours takes forever to load, they will beat you in rankings and get more visitors than you. It’s that simple.
What can you do to make sure your site doesn’t get penalized?
There are many things that can slow down a website. The most common are huge amounts of graphics and excessive flash animation. Make sure your images are optimized for file size. A little flash is ok, but don’t go crazy with it. It gets annoying to users anyway.
While Google is considering site speed, it’s nowhere near the top of the list of things they consider when ranking websites. The most important factors are still things like relevance, domain age, back links, etc.
However, it’s good business to have a site that doesn’t make your visitors wait to see your content. They will never see your offer if they click the back button before the page loads.