Peter VanRysdam / User Insights / August 4th, 2011

Convenient: Website Load Time Impacts Google Rank. Paying Google Improves This.

Google announced a new service last week where they’ll optimize your site’s page load speed. The new Page Speed Service, which is currently open to a limited audience by request, actually has you point your DNS CNAME entry to Google which will serve code they’ve rewritten. Speed tests are impressive, with results ranging from 25% to 60%. Pricing isn’t set yet, but promises to ” be competitive.”@@DOUBLE@@Sounds great, right? Google will make your page load faster. If only it were that simple.@@DOUBLE@@Talk about making your own market. You see, a little more than a year ago, Google announced that site speed is a factor in determining your page’s rank in their index. Their blog post on the change encouraged users to “start looking at your site’s speed — not only to improve your ranking in search engines, but also to improve everyone’s experience on the Internet.”@@DOUBLE@@They forgot to mention the third benefit of increasing their share price.@@DOUBLE@@Is it just me? Am I just fishing for a conspiracy here? I know I’ll be accused of just hating on Google some more, but I’m just not buying the whole “don’t be evil” thing. Nobody is that nice.@@DOUBLE@@So am I crazy?

  • Linc

    Interesting… @@DOUBLE@@But general page speed is good for everyone: – Users get smaller data usage on their bills and a better experience with quicker results. – Site owners spend less on hosting bloated, slow sites, and reap the benefits of their customers’ positive experiences (see #1). – Google gets to improve service return results that are not only contextually accurate but which users will actually be able to load quickly, making their results more useful beyond keyword checking. – Browser developers get to focus on tighter standards and cool new features and less on loading/rendering bloated sites in the wild. – ISPs get to handle more traffic, serve more customers and STILL monopolize their markets. 😉 – We cut down on electricity consumption, the #1 reason we burn oil. :)@@DOUBLE@@So I don’t really see the downside. HOWEVER, if Google required their own proprietary "optimization certification" to be a first-page result, then you have a problem with a fabricated demand for a fake commodity. AFAIK, that isn’t happening yet?

  • Linc

    One more comment from a web designer: Page Speed is often represented as a grade like A+ or F, but the actual tools break down that rating into MANY vectors like CDN usage, use of combiners, server caching, etc. It’s a complex mix of factors, and speeding up pages is something any company could offer as a service, if they understand everything involved.@@DOUBLE@@Bottom line: Google doesn’t have a monopoly on it, they are just the big guns pushing the industry forward.@@DOUBLE@@Also – The CAPTCHA on this site is damn incomprehensible.

  • PeterV

    "HOWEVER, if Google required their own proprietary "optimization certification" to be a first-page result, then you have a problem with a fabricated demand for a fake commodity. AFAIK, that isn’t happening yet?"@@DOUBLE@@Exactly what they want you the believe. Careful what you say…they have robots that read this text!

  • JameyW

    It doesn’t sound like a bad thing to me at all. I think that page load speed coupled with other factors of their algorithm would certainly indicate a quality web site. If you are a small business and don’t have internal resources it may be nice to contract someone to work on your site for you. Hey… isn’t this something 352 does? Maybe this should be a new service that you offer and thank Google for creating demand. @@DOUBLE@@Remember that while it may seem like Starbucks would steal demand from other coffee shops, in practice the opposite often happens. Just look at Maud’s, they didn’t get shut down by Starbucks. @@DOUBLE@@This doesn’t seem any different than optimizing your site for search engines by using H tags, front loading the first 100 words on a page, etc all became a priority because Google let a bit of "what is important in their algorithm" slip out. So really, they have been creating demand for services like this for a long time.@@DOUBLE@@In the end I think any of this is really just ancillary to the actual demand that Google creates… drving traffic to one’s site. That in a nutshell is their product and core competency.

  • Kim White

    Point my CName entry to Google, I don’t think so! First they come for your CName record…next the come for your neighbor.. .then one day they come for you! @@DOUBLE@@There are lots of ways a good web designer/developer can reduce load time without handing the problem off to Google. Keep in mind that Google does not do ANYTHING without a good self-serving reason, so the questions is ‘what is Google getting out of this’? Better load time, so better SERPs, of course. And that means more $ for Google from selling Adwords and display ads. Peter is right, this is entirely a manufactured situation. They created their own market for a new service.