Google to Penalize Slow Loading Websites

Website Speed Counts!Something that has been hinted upon for a couple years, was finally announced – Big G is working a penalty for slow load time into their algorithm.   According to Google’s Webmaster Central blog,  the penalty at this time is a minor one, and only affects:

  • less than 1% of search queries
  • only queries in English made through Google.com

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.

It goes on to say that the penalty doesn’t count as much as “Relevancy of the page” – but what else does?

You can check your website’s load time at Pingdom.

Some tips to speed up web page load times:

  1. Reduce HTTP requests
    • Combine all javascript files into one
    • Combine all CSS files into one
    • Use CSS Sprites to reduce number of background images needed
  2. Reduce the number of images on a page
  3. Optimize images to reduce their file size
  4. Use  an Expires or a Cache-Control Header
  5. Minify CSS and Javascript
  6. Use HTML and CSS over images where ever possible.

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