Site Speed, Google’s Next Ranking Factor

At PubCon, Matt Cutts from Google said there is strong lobbying in Google to introduce a new ranking factor into the algorithm. The new ranking factor has to do with how fast a site or page loads. Matt described this as one of his ‘what to expect in 2010′ bullet points in his presentation yesterday evening in Las Vegas.

He explained that Google’s co-founders want searching to be real fast, as if you are flipping through a magazine. Part of this is making sure faster web pages rank better than slower ones. Matt explained that page speed is a factor in the search ad AdWords quality score and there is currently a strong push to make it a factor in the organic ranking algorithm. Matt basically implied that in 2010, it will be one additional factor.

Let’s keep in mind two things:

(1) There are over 200 ranking factors in the algorithm and each are weighted differently. If I had to guess, page speed would not be a tremendously weighed factor, unless the site takes 90 seconds to load.

(2) I monitor complaints from the AdWords (and organic) side of webmasters and virtually no one complains that their quality score is low because of having a slow site. I would have to assume the same speed criteria would be applied from the quality score page speed requirements to the organic side of things. So if advertisers rarely, if never, complain about it – one would assume non-advertisers would also not complain much about that as a reason for their site’s poor ranking.

To hear more from Matt on this topic, see the second half of this WebProNews video with Mike McDonald:

Related Topics: Channel: SEO | Google: SEO | Top News


About The Author: is Search Engine Land's News Editor and owns RustyBrick, a NY based web consulting firm. He also runs Search Engine Roundtable, a popular search blog on very advanced SEM topics. Barry's personal blog is named Cartoon Barry and he can be followed on Twitter here. For more background information on Barry, see his full bio over here.

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  • dbrennan

    It’s about time… There’s some dead wood that needs to cleaned out.

  • George Michie

    Even if the penalties are relatively small, hopefully just the act of talking about it will get advertisers to pay attention to load speeds. In truth, the real penalties of having a slow site go far beyond any dings Google might apply: the real toll is taken from conversion rates and the damage done to customer retention.

    There’s also a more subtle point. The slower the load speeds the bigger the tracking hole in your site analytics. As I mentioned in a post last spring, javascript tracking fires from the page footer. Slow page loads mean more people click off the landing page before the footer loads; those folks are seen as “untracked” even though they may have come through a marketing program. Undercrediting the marketing program leads to underspending. In this sense, it’s in Google’s interest to insist on faster loading sites.


  • simonvs

    Google already penalises advertisers for slow page load as page landing page speed is a factor in Google Adwords Quality Score. Slow landing page = higher ad cost. It it becomes a factor in the organic ranking algorithm then things will get interesting especially for sites that depend on data loading from other sites e.g. youtube, adsense and other ad networks – before their page fully loads. Its one thing slowing your own page down but another thing someone else doing it, so, such a move could have serious repercussions for third party ”content”‘ providers – well…if your content slows down my page and my site’s ranking is effected then…..

    The company I work have a web performance person dedicated to the speed of our sites, this has been on our radar simply from the prespective of providing a good user experience for a long time – customers prefer fast websites – period. Happy customers spend more. We use a website accelerator called Aptimize to do the job, but depending on your CMS there are add-ons and plugins available to help increase your site speed. This was a little hint from Matt and therefore something to act on before January by the sounds of it.

  • Praveen Thapa

     plz help me, rangking

    realy great information,

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