How Website Speed Affects Your Search Engine Ranks

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Several factors are used by Google in the way search engines are ranked. The factors are either related to the authenticity of the website itself or to the content of the webpage itself. However in 2010 Google announced that the speed of websites would also be used in ranking of search engines; thus some of the page metrics used to determine search engine rankings are as follows:


Web page speed and success
Web site speed improves various success metrics. Metrics such conversion rates, bounce rates and revenue have shown impressive improvements with faster web sites. A study by Google showed that by increasing latency by 100ms and 400ms reduces daily searches by 0.2% and 0.6% respectively.

Page load time
Page load time usually means either document complete time or fully rendered time. Document complete time is time a page takes to load before you can click on links or enter any data. Fully rendered time on the other hand is total time a page takes to load and display all content including images and advertisements. There is however no clear correlation between document complete time and fully rendered time with search engine rank.

Time to first byte
This is the amount of time a browser takes before receiving the first byte of a response from a web server after a particular URL has been requested. In essence it is the network latency of sending a request to the server, time taken by the web server to process and generate a response and time it takes to send the first byte of the response to the browser. Sites that have a lower time to first byte are found to have a higher search result and vice versa. There is a clear correlation between decreasing search rank and increasing time to first byte. This metric has the highest correlation effect.

Page size
Page size includes all the bytes that are downloaded to fully render a page and they include all images, advertisements and fonts. Sites with lower rankings usually have less content and complexity in their sites. As rankings increase, the content and complexity of the sites also increase. Decreasing page size correlates to decreasing page rank.

Total image content
This metric is found to have no effect on search engine ranking. Despite the fact that websites with more images takes a slower time to fully load, there is absolutely no correlation. This further supports that page load time does not have any impact on search engine ranking.

In general there is no correlation between page load time and search engine ranking. There is however a correlation between lower time to first byte metrics and higher search engine ranks. Also increasing latency reduces daily searches.


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