Google adds site speed to search ranking

April 9, 2010 7:46 am | 12 Comments

Today, Google announced that a site’s speed has been added as a signal to Google’s search ranking algorithm: Using site speed in web search ranking.

In March 2008, one month after I started working here, Google announced that site speed was being incorporated into Adwords Quality Score. When I wrote my blog post about that change to Adwords (Google fosters a faster Internet) I had no idea that this was the beginning of a long series of contributions from Google for creating a faster Web. Since that time Google has released:

Two years ago when I talked to people about the Adwords change, most people thought it was a good idea, but the most frequent response was, “Doesn’t this favor larger companies that care about performance?” In my experience, small companies that care about performance are able to make improvements much more quickly than large companies. Small companies are typically more agile and have less legacy code to worry about.

I’m excited to see web performance optimization become a competitive advantage, and look forward to helping web developers around the world make their sites even faster. Make sure to run Page Speed and YSlow to find the most important performance improvements. If you still have questions, feel free to contact me. I’ll be happy to analyze your web site and give you some tips.

As much as I’m excited about how Google’s announcement raises awareness about web performance optimization among companies and developers, I’m most excited about what this means for users. Faster web sites lead to a better user experience. And that’s what it’s all about.

12 Responses to Google adds site speed to search ranking

  1. i think google page test and tools giving more traffic.

  2. Speednerd ;) I just knew you would have this post online in a few minutes after I read Google’s blog.

    But I’m with you: it’s great Google is creating some awareness. That will hopefully speed up the web a bit more.

  3. Page speed and Yslow are great but is there any tool that could crawl the entire site and give me a speed report instead of running separate tests on every page?

  4. @Jonas: Most free tools wouldn’t do that because they might get used to do DOS attacks. You might try some of the commercial tools like Zoompf. Another approach would be to do this based on a web server access log. You could get one of the frameworks for running Firefox in headless mode. Sergey from ShowSlow.com just wrote a blog post about this: Automating YSlow and PageSpeed using Xvfb. It would be a very cool piece of open source work to add something to read an access log and feed it to such a headless system. Personalized pages and POST requests are obvious issues.

  5. Steve,

    Am I mistaken? I thought this was announced (in other forums) before now. I recall hearing about this last summer at Velocity 2009. Did I misinterpret something?

  6. @Claude: No, this is brand new. There was the Adwords announcement two years ago. Matt Cutts hinted at it in his WebProNews interview in Nov 2009. But it was just launched a few weeks ago and today is the first official announcement.

  7. @Jonas, @Steve: it was actually somewhere on the road map (in my head until now) to have a page-explorer that will automatically add pages to measure.

    URL management and automated measurements are much closer on the road map: http://code.google.com/p/showslow/issues/detail?id=25 come vote for it if you’d like to see that happen.

    @Claude: you’re probably talking about the announcement of performance results being added to Google Webmaster Tools. At that moment it was a good hint that performance is going to affect search, but now it’s official.

  8. @Steve: I think it’s a huge move – it’ll help bring SEO / SEM budgets into performance.

    It’s funny that I forgot about original announcement that AdWords quality score is affected by performance (meaning it costs more to buy ads for slower sites). I’ll keep that in mind next time I preach performance to business people ;)

  9. Will you be working with the AdSense team to improve their method as loading ads in content as well? As explained in your own post (http://www.stevesouders.com/blog/2010/03/29/p3pc-google-adsense/): there’s still room to improve. Funnily enough Google’s Page Speed is listing AdSense as the major blocker for my websites, preventing me for scoring on the ‘Fast’ chart in Webmaster Tools Labs.

  10. ‘method as loading ads’ should be ‘method of loading ads’

  11. This is diabolically clever from a business perspective.

    Google knows more speed equals more usage. More usage equals more advertising opportunities. By rewarding high speed sites and punishing low speed ones with user traffic, Google increases the supply of advertising opportunities which of course it will capture a majority of due to its market share.

    Talk about driving the market.

  12. I’m glad to hear about this. It’s been months since this was done, did the site speed improved? I’m afraid I didn’t notice it so please let me know if it got better for you. Before I do more extensive performance improvement at my end.