Google Uses Website Speed as a Ranking Factor

If you haven’t been keeping up with the latest news in search engine optimization, you might not realize that Google is now using site speed as a ranking factor.

You can see the official announcement on the Google Webmaster Central Blog.  It began when Google announced that it wanted to make the web faster, now they are beginning to enforce the speed of the web by using it as a ranking factor.

How quickly does your website load?

If you don’t know how fast your site loads right now, chances are that it can be improved.  Here are a few tools that can help you to find out how fast your site loads and what you can do to improve:

What are some standard methods for improving my site speed?

There are a lot of ways that you can speed up your website, these are among the more common:

  • CSS Sprites – by combining background images into one and using advanced CSS methods to display them, you can cut down on the number of http requests for your site to load.
  • Enable Caching – by caching your web pages,  or storing them temporarily on the users computer, content that is not updated frequently will be loaded from the users machine instead of being re-requested and re-loaded from your site.
  • Optimize Images – by removing unnecessary bytes from your image files, they will load much quicker.
  • Make CSS and JavaScript External and Cache-able – It is good practice to keep all CSS and JavaScript separate from your HTML.  This makes it easier if you need to update these files easier because everything is in one location.  By caching, you can eliminate the need to continually load these files and by making them external, you can make the file size of your main pages smaller.

So tell us, what have you done to make your website load faster?  How much time / bandwidth did you eliminate?

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