Google has just officially announced that website speed is now a new signal when it considers web search ranking. Although not too much weight is given to site speed, still Google encourages website owners to consider implementing site speed booster to make their websites rank higher on Google search. This however applies only to Google.com. And site speed is defined by Google as the speed by which websites responde to web requests.
Google also gave two major reasons why site speed is important – it improves user experience and satisfaction when visiting websites and it reduces operating costs.
In determining site speed of a websites it ranks, Google uses various methods and sources. What are those specifically remains secret though.
To evaluate the speed of your site, you can use the following tools, as suggested by the Google Webmaster Central Blog:
- Page Speed, an open source Firefox/Firebug add-on that evaluates the performance of web pages and gives suggestions for improvement.
- YSlow, a free tool from Yahoo! that suggests ways to improve website speed.
- WebPagetest shows a waterfall view of your pages’ load performance plus an optimization checklist.
- In Webmaster Tools, Labs > Site Performance shows the speed of your website as experienced by users around the world as in the chart below. We’ve also blogged about site performance.