Saturday, December 5, 2009

Google's Page Speed Unrealistic?

OK guys, I've been away a while in terms of posting, but had two fairly big projects on, and didn't have much free time!

There has been a fair bit of buzz around the SEO community since Pub Con in Las Vegas last November, when Google's Matt Cutts talked about Page Speed. There have been suggestions that speed of pages, loading times and the like may become a factor in Google's main search algorithm in 2010. This may or may not be true, but whether or not it's 100% true, there's no harm in making your page quicker for your users, right?

I've mentioned previously ways to monitor the performance of your web server, for example in terms of downtime. This is surely a ranking factor - if on a number of occasions googlebot cannot access your page due to server down time, it's unlikely they'll display your results to the users in the serps.

So all of this has prompted some great tools such as Firefox extension Firebug (a must, by the way) and even Google's official blog announcing a new feature within Webmaster Tools to show your site's performance. The tools show a graph, over time, which looks a little like this:

Page Speed - Barcelona SEO

So according to Webmaster Tools, one of my sites is 83% lower than the majority of sites on the web! Wow! That's huge - and it takes 6.7 seconds to load - not too bad, right? But 83% of the sites on the web are quicker than this one, which sounds terrible. However, I think this is perhaps a little bit of an exaggeration on Google's part. For example, UK SEO Team Blogstorm reported that their site was also 86% slower than all other sites. I think I can see a trend developing - even in the comments, you can see the highest seems to be a 66%.

If you check my graph above, you'll see a huge spike mid way through September. This was due to a conflict with the javascript used in the sharethis buttons. This was not letting the page completely load, until you actually hovered over the icons. I also have to say that this was fixed extremely quickly and professionally by the support team. There's still a long way to go before I get into the 20% bracket for example, but it's a head start if things like this will influence any way in the rankings for the coming year.

Are you looking to improve your site's performance in Google and the other search engines? Barcelona SEO can help. I specialise in website optimisation in Barcelona and internationally, and will be happy to chat about your site. Contact me here for more details.

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