Page Speed to Be a Google Ranking Factor in 2010

Google's obsession with speed will affect the ranking algorithm

  Google's obsession with speed will affect the ranking algorithm
Google's ranking system is a closely guarded secret. Sure, the company lays out general guidelines and reveals the factors that go into determining a site's relevance, but knowing the exact algorithm would be worth a lot of money to a lot of people. That's not going to happen anytime soon, but something that will happen is including page loading speed as a factor in the organic ranking algorithm.

This comes straight from one of Google's top engineers, Matt Cutts, so it's not a question of if, it's a question of when. And the answer is 'as early as next year.' The reasoning is that faster pages make for a better experience, so they should rank higher. With speed-obsessed Google, it's a surprise that it hasn't introduced it earlier.

"Historically, we haven't had to use it in our search rankings, but a lot of people within Google think that the web should be fast," Cutts told WebProNews. "It should be a good experience, and so it's sort of fair to say that if you're a fast site, maybe you should get a little bit of a bonus. If you really have an awfully slow site, then maybe users don't want that as much."

It's no reason to worry yet, even if your site may be a little sluggish. It's still going to be a while until Google makes the changes, and, even so, speed isn't going to make that much of a difference in the vast majority of the cases. Google takes into account over 200 factors when determining ranking, so adding a new one won't affect the system too much.

"I think a lot of people in 2010 are going to be thinking more about 'how do I have my site be fast,' how do I have it be rich without writing a bunch of custom javascript?'" he added. There's no doubt that Google has a fixation with speed and it's a great focus in everything it does. In fact, Google just released plans to improve the HTTP protocol to make the entire web faster at the most basic of levels. But there's a good reason for this, faster pages mean more pageviews, which, in turn, means more advertising money.

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By    14 Nov 2009, 09:52 GMT