When you are searching for something on the Internet, for many people, the first place they go to is Google. The process goes something like this:
- Type keyword phrase in to google.com or google.ca
- Hit “Google Search”
- Results appear, 10 to a page (ignoring paid ads or local results)
But how does Google rank those results? It uses a large number of factors to determine how to rank search engine results, more than 200 in fact. Typically, these factors are either related to the content of a web page (the body copy, its web address, the titles and headlines) or are measurements of the authenticity of the website itself (age of the domain name, number and quality of inbound links, etc.).
Some factors are more important than others, a very important one being site load speed. Back in 2010, Google announced website speed would begin having an impact on search ranking. But why is a fast-loading site important to a visitor?
A slow-loading website results in a poor user experience and sites with poor user experiences deserve less promotion in search results.
What’s the First Step?
Check the load speed on your website using a free tool such as Pingdom. Here are the results for our website:
And the results for Market 2 All, our e-newsletter site:
Clearly, we are doing something right but it could always improve.
What Can You Do?
First place to check is your web host. Ask them what they can do to help speed up your site.
A local web hosting company – Island Hosting – performs “image caching” to speed up hosting where images are cached on the load balancer using Varnish, which alleviated disk i/o on the servers making for faster hosting.
Huh? We thought you would ask.
This means that their server loads your website images faster than normal using a special tool, which results in faster load times and hence, better rankings in Google.
- If you are running WordPress, see if there is a new version of your theme
- Update your WordPress version and its plugins to the latest versions
- Ask your domain name host if there is anything they can do
- Remove heavy graphics from your website such as gradient backgrounds, shadows on images, optimize your JPEGs
- Start riding your bicycle to work (that one was just to help YOU load faster)
If you need help speeding up your site, let us know.