I'm sure you're thinking... "What does site load speed and my search engine rankings have in common?" Well, the answer is actually related to Google Analytics and site monitoring. As a successful webmaster with a ton of traffic, I've known for a long time that site load speed is a fundamental component of Google rankings. In fact, it's been one of the most importants aspect of rankings for many years.
However, Google has not always been vocal about the weight or importance of site load speed as a factor within their algorithm. I believe this is largely due to the importance of site load speed as a ranking factor. Admitting just how important it is would be like showing their cards at the table.
Now that the Google algorithm has been impacted by so many changes (Google caffeine, Instant, Panda, etc.), I believe they are ready to share what they know. My friends at a well-known San Diego SEO firm have been tracking the importance of site load speed with a number of their clients over an extended period of time and have seen significant improvements in search results when sites render more quickly.
They've used this experience to build sites like www.rankmywebsite.net to leverage their know-how and help small business owners succeed online. Using real data is truly the only way to see the impact of this ranking factor and these guys are industry experts who know what works because they’re testing around the clock.
So, how does this affect your site? Two words: Google Analytics. Eight out of ten of the world’s leading sites run it and if it’s free. Google Analytics provides invaluable insight by measuring every metric imaginable and delivering the data in a format that’s easy to understand. Recently, Google added Site Load Speed to the analytics category available through your account. The video in this post will teach you to access this information and make use of it for analyzing the speed of your site. A good measuring stick for site speed is to see how your site measures up against the frontrunners in your niche, which this software does for free (and pretty accurately). The faster your site loads in comparison to competing sites, the greater weight Google will give your site.
Finally, an important caveat to always consider when trying to improve your website visibility is that Google will never publish their proprietary formula for delivering search results; if they did, they would reveal the secrets that make their search results so accurate and most of what you’d see would be spam or low quality content. The best determinant of what works is simply testing everything you do. Keeping good records and regularly analyzing your on-site and off-site search engine optimization efforts will pay dividends that far outweigh the extra time it takes to do so.