As the style and content of websites have developed server speed has become a consideration in search engine optimisation.
With Google in particular their mission has to been to provide the information you are looking for quickly and accurately.
To this end they have stated that slow loading websites may not be listed as well as quicker loading ones.
With Google stating that it will actively discriminate against slow loading sites, it does not take a degree in search engine optimisation to understand the impact a slow server can have on the performance of your website.
There are two parts to this idea that you need to consider. The first is the idea that search engines like Google are a primary traffic driver. Or in other words if your site is slower than the other sites Google is listing for your search term, you may not appear as well as you should.
A secondary affect will be for visitors to your site. If it’s slow will you miss out on conversions…
As a general rule any page that pages more than a couple of seconds to load is going to be an issue. Below this figure the problem decreases…
Google has a number of tools which allow you to check the speed of your site; it’s worth checking you sites periodically for this as content management systems are prone to this issue.
While it is true that no one outside of Google knows the mechanism for determining rank in its search engine listing, we do know Google likes the top ten pages for a given phrase for a reason, and it is this fact we can use to formulate our strategy.
The reason for looking at the top ten as a whole is that it allows us to remove the ‘freak’ results of any one website.
We could look at any phrase but it makes sense to look at a popular term. It’s also important to note that the internet is a fluid place and analysis on one day and with one search engine can be different on another day on another engine.
As expected most of the top 10 pages for this search term had server load time of around 1 second or below.
Three of the top ten sites had load times is excess of five seconds, which shows that although load times are important there are always exceptions that break the rules.
In each case all three sites were very well respected sites whose other ranking factors made up for the struggling server technology.
This also proves the other aspect of Search Engine Optimisation with the idea that there is no magic bullet which will give an instant number one spot. To successfully implement search engine optimisation you must look fully at all the factors and make the best compromise on that basis.