Effect on Google Ranking of a Slow Website

For a long time Google typically relied either upon the content of the website or measurement of authenticity of website to rank search results produced by it. Then, a sudden shift in strategy came in 2010 as Google announced that from now on it shall start accounting the speed of a website also as a factor to rank websites on its search engine results.

Although the definition of “website speed” was left into vague but in June same year, Search Quality team Member of Google, Matt Cutt made an announcement that slow mobile websites shall be liable to punishment in rankings.

Now approach of Google is surely clear: They maintain that a slow website has hindrance in the user function and any website that creates problems for user must be penalized for that.

Now as Google is mum about the speed maintainability tactics that are being used by it to form ranking, we have made a tentative search about the various factors that can decide about the speed of website. We have utilized some 2000 search queries in order to carve out a data by using versions of browsers that are utilized by greater number of consumers so as to relate with the page loading performance measurements.

Now various factors observed under our research were

  • Time to First Byte
  • Page Size
  • Page Load Time
  • Total Image Content

With reliable data and time measurements collected, it was seen that most of these factors had no effect on the ranking of a particular website on Google search engine. We utilized both generic and long tail search comprising of4-5 words but all of them has the same result i.e. no effect on the ranking of the website.  But there was a special correlation with the ranking of the website and TIME-TO –FIRST-BYTE (TTFB) feature that showed that a website that makes its user to receive the first byte earlier then the other can surely be aspiring for a higher rank on the Google Rankings.

TTFB is a feature that can easily be calculated by Google’s various crawlers. Crawler produce data which helps determine TTFB to explain about the “speed” &”“performance”. With our research and clear indication of TTFB role in search engine rankings it can be safely said that soon page rendering shall be exercised as a factor to decide about the rankings as it also shows the effectiveness of user experience.

3 main factors effecting TTFB are

  1. Speed with which content can be formed on the website’s back end
  2. Time delay of a network between a visitor and the server
  3. Load on the server

Network time delay can be decreased by using Content Distribution Networks (CDNs) which can deliver content to all visitors quickly regardless of geographical Location. So in short in order to speed up their websites they have range of actions that can be pursued.

  1. Utilizing CDNs
  2. Optimizing database layers

Use high capacity servers.