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Will web page speed become a more important ranking factor?

Google's Matt Cutts recently suggested that the speed of a web page may soon get more attention in Google's ranking algorithm. It seems that Google focuses on fast websites to make the searching experience better.

What can you do to make your web pages faster?

Of course, you should start by choosing a reliable web host that has a good connection to the Internet. Your web server should be easy to reach and it shouldn't have any down time.

In addition to choosing a fast web host, you can do the following to make your web pages faster:

Combine external JavaScript code files into one file. The fewer files the server has to request, the faster your web pages will load.
Compress your JavaScript code to make the JavaScript file smaller.
Combine external CSS files into one file and compress your CSS files.
If your web server supports it, enable gZip compression (your web host can do that for you).
Use as few images as possible on your website and compress your images. Most graphic tools enable you to choose the compression rate when saving an image for the web.
Put tracking codes and other JavaScript snippets at the end of your web pages.
Analyze your web pages with IBP's Top 10 Optimizer to get an idea of the speed of your website. In addition, to many other web page elements, the top 10 optimizer also analyzes the speed of your website and it will tell you if your website is slower than the websites of your competitors.

Is it a good idea to use the loading time in the ranking algorithm?

While fast loading pages are good for web searchers, using the page loading time in the ranking algorithm can cause problems for smaller businesses:

Businesses will be forced to choose a fast (and probably expensive) web host if they want to be found in the search results.
People with a low income or businesses from a country with slow Internet connections won't be able to compete with companies that have more money.
Big corporations that have a very good connection to the Internet will have an advantage.
The big websites will get bigger and the small websites will get smaller.
The role of the page loading time in Google's ranking algorithm isn't clear yet so the above points are speculation at this time.

Optimizing the loading time of your web pages is a good idea, no matter how large the effect of loading time on your website rankings will be. The faster your web pages load, the more visitors of your website will be able to see the contents of your pages.

Web surfers are impatient people. The average web surfer wants immediate results. For that reason, your website should be fast loading and it should also contain clearly arranged content that makes it easy to read your pages.

IBP's Top 10 Optimizer will also assign a Flesch?Kincaid readability score to your web pages after analyzing the content of your website. The higher the score, the more difficult to read are your web pages.

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December 2009 search engine articles