Site Speed: An Important SEO Ranking Factor?

SEO Site SpeedLast year, Matt Cutts has dropped a bomb on the sphere when he hinted that site speed could be considered as a ranking factor for the SERPs (search engine result pages). While it is not clear whether this is in fact being used or will be, by Google, it is always prudent to see how your website is performing. Relevance is still king when it comes to rankings and a combination of both relevance and page speed will definitely give you the ingredients to get to the top.

So, Is Site Speed Important For SEO?

Say there are two websites that are equally relevant for a user. Which do you think will be preferred by the user, the website that loads faster or the one that takes forever to fully load? I am betting that the answer is obvious and this is the reason why I think you should regularly check for your sites loading time whenever possible and perform some changes whenever necessary. It may or may not be an official ranking factor but I am almost sure that it will come into play when Google decides which website should come first, all for the good of enhancing the users experience. According to some research I have performed, the ideal site loading time will be somewhere under 10 seconds.

How do you measure your site speed loading time?

As always, I like using the KISS principle when recommending some tools for you to use. I have been using two free online SEO tools and one of them is even recommended by Google. Here they are:

Numion’s StopWatch (very simple and recommended by Google): The stopwatch is a small Javascript that runs on your computer (not the Numion server). It measures the time between the moment your browser starts to load the URL and when the browser signals that it has finished (“Done” in the status bar). The measurement therefore includes fetching and interpreting all HTML (including frames), images, and Javascripts. It does not include content that is handled by plugins. If the page is in the cache then the stopwatch will measure the faster loading time. The accuracy is the accuracy of the Javascript timer, on most systems 10 milliseconds. Not bad. Just be make to test for your site speed also by clearing up your cache. This will give you an idea of what a new user will have to wait for your site to load.

site speed test
iBlogzone Test Site Speed

Web Page Analyzer (simple but advanced): The script calculates the size of individual elements and sums up each type of web page component. Based on these page characteristics the script then offers advice on how to improve page load time. The script incorporates the latest best practices from Website Optimization Secrets, web page size guidelines and trends, and web site optimization techniques into its recommendations.

test site speed

If you are interested is seeing how your site is performing, give these tools a go and get your website optimized for speed. Remember though that it is not something you should panic about, but better safe than sorry.


DiTesco is a Business and Inbound Marketing Consultant, and founder of iBlogzone's main objective is to help startups and small business owners achieve success in their online ventures. | More About Me and my Digital Marketing Services in SP Brazil.

8 thoughts on “Site Speed: An Important SEO Ranking Factor?

  • Hi,

    Do you have any Idea what Connection Speed Google Uses when it displays Site Performance Graph in Google Webmasters Tools?

    Thanks 🙂
    .-= Mrinmay Bhattacharjee´s last blog ..Purchase Cheap Storage for your Google Account =-.

    • Mrinmay, the site performance graph in Google Webmaster Tools is based on data send in by the Google Toolbar users, at least for now.

  • Not sure will this add some cost to blogger, now that you’ll need better and costlier hosting for speed.

    • Not necessarily Wilson. It depends on how you have your blogger set up. If you have too many scripts and external calls, it will slow down just as it will any website that is self hosted. This blog was on blogger before and my average load time was no more than 11secs. That’s not bad, considering that the content loaded first and fast. What I did was to place other scripts way down to ensure that they load after the content.

  • Thanks for the StopWatch tip, clean and simple tool. In addition to Web Page Analyzer, I like to use for in-depth analysis and for checking the loading times (it saves/caches the results, which makes it good “tracking tool” when doing optimization)
    .-= Antti Kokkonen invites you to check this out.. Speed Up WordPress – Even on a Shared Hosting! =-.

  • I also agree that speed is one of the factor.But if we have make site more attractive to users we will have to use the images, graphic etc and load time will be more in that case.

    So whom to prefer design or speed

    • Mike, you are correct, design is important. But when using images, you can use them smartly.

      On the background and overall design, one should use CSS Sprites (combining all images into one file and displaying each individual “sprite” via CSS) and optimizing all images for web (making the images as small as possible by using proper format and lossless crunching).

      If you want to know how to optimize images, check out this post of mine:

  • I’m sure Site speed is one of the major factor in SEO. That’s why all SEO themes are light weight themes. Also this is the reason why many are using gZIP compression of html pages. All pages of my website loads within 4-8 seconds.

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