Most factors that search engines use to rank websites are related to content such as title tags, meta descriptions, headings and the main content itself.

The SEO experts at Cardinal Web Solutions work hard to optimize these factors.

As well as other ranking factors related to authenticity, such as quality and amount of back links, citations, anchor text and the age of the domain.

However, On April 9, 2010, Google announced that site speed would be incorporated as one of the more than 200 variables that influence search engine results.

However, Google never elaborated on what “site speed” actually means.

Matt Cutts (leads Google’s web spam team) specified that less than one percent of search queries would be affected by the change in the algorithm back in 2010. Google has been very clear that content relevancy would still be the main factor when it comes to ranking.

On June 11, 2013, Google officially announced that site speed would also be a ranking factor for mobile search.

Although the exact emphasis on site speed is unknown, it is evident that Google is moving toward site speed as a permanent factor in their ranking algorithm.

What is site speed?

Site Speed Graphic

The definition of site speed was never elaborated by Google and is often left to interpretation.

Many SEO companies and bloggers attempted to figure out what factors that would improve the speed of a page would correlate with the website’s rankings. Zoompf conducted a study where they evaluated the correlation of page speed factors such as “page load time,” which can be measured by “document complete” time — the time it takes for the user to be able to interact with data—or “fully rendered” time, which is the time it takes to load all images and advertisements.

 

The other tested factors included: time to first byte, page size and total image content. Zoompf calculated the data with webpagetest.org and compared the results with the position of the website on SERPs in the hopes to find a correlation.

The results showed that there is no correlation between “page load time” (either document complete and fully rendered), “page size” and “total image content,” but the data showed a correlation between lower time-to-first-byte metrics and higher search engine rankings.

Nonetheless, correlation does not imply causation; it is unknown if websites rank higher because of better site speed, or if sites had to improve site speed because of already being ranked higher.

Although we can’t prove that enhancing the speed of your website improves rankings, we know that a speed boost will greatly be appreciated   by the users. A website has two seconds or less to load before the modern internet user decides to take their search queries elsewhere.

 

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