Slow Websites Speeds Harm Google Rankings

It’s official!  Speed is now a critical metric in ensuring your website obtains a good ranking on Google. For the last several years an unofficial industry benchmark has been established which encompasses two simple rules.

Rule #1

 This rules states that if your page(s) does not load within 2 seconds your customer will leave your page.

Rule #2

All video on your site should not buffer. It should play continuously. If the video should stall – goodbye customer!

The two rules highlighted above are not just arbitrary wish lists; they are becoming the standards whereby both your customer and Google will determine how they rank you.

In fact, the 2-second rule mentioned earlier might no longer be fast enough. In 2009, a Forrester survey found that 40% of Internet travelers would give a Web site 2 seconds to load before abandoning it.

But, In 2012, even 400 milliseconds may be too long if you are to believe a recent New York Times article, which featured an interview with a Google engineer.

“The reason is that data-hungry Smartphones and tablets are creating frustrating digital traffic jams, as people download maps, video clips of sports highlights, news updates or recommendations for nearby restaurants. The competition to be the quickest is fierce,” said the NYT.

Four out of five online users will leave a web page if a video freezes while loading. This is why Google has created a standalone project called Let’s make the web faster which attempts to offer insights into how to speed up page-load times and also offer additional tools to get the job done.

This includes a free website tool called WebPageTest which offers an extensive performance review of site speed, including load times and requests made for individual elements such as JavaScript, CSS, and images.

It’s also why UK2 will shortly be launching a new Content Delivery Network which in some cases allows small business owners to speed up page downloads by as much as 70%. The CDN works by distributing content closer to your users through a global network of hyper-fast servers.

Also remember that by 2013 most of your users will be accessing web content from a Smartphone. This means users will be more impatient than ever to see web content load quickly.   Consider combining a GoMobi website with a CDN on the UK2 hosting platform to scale quickly and inject some furious speed into your website.

Ecommerce conversions and customer retention will be the two key benefits coming out of this strategy.

Guest Blogger: Jason Stevens from jason-stevens.com / Freelance web developer, tech writer and follower of cloud computing trends. Follow him on Twitter @_jason_stevens_

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