Google is using the speed of web sites as a consideration when ranking sites in its search results, giving webmasters yet more food for thought.
Google fellow Amit Singhal and principal engineer Matt Cutts said in a blog post yesterday that speeding up the response time of a web site is important for site owners and users.
"Faster sites create happy users, and our internal studies [show] that when a site responds slowly, visitors spend less time there," they wrote.
"But faster sites don't just improve user experience; recent data shows that improving site speed also reduces operating costs.
"Like us, our users place a lot of value in speed. That's why we've decided to take site speed into account in our search rankings."
Singhal and Cutts recommended several tools webmasters can use to evaluate the speed of their sites. These include the Firefox/Firebug add-on Page Speed, Yahoo tool YSlow, and a Google function in its Webmaster Tools section.
However, the web firm did concede that site speed will not be taken into consideration as much as, say, relevance when evaluating the search rankings of a particular site.
"Currently, fewer than one per cent of search queries are affected by the site speed signal in our implementation, and the signal for site speed only applies for visitors searching in English on Google.com at this point," noted the blog post.
"We launched this change a few weeks back after rigorous testing. If you haven't seen much change to your site rankings, then this site speed change possibly did not have any impact on your site."
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