Monday, June 25, 2012

Does Speeding Up Your Website Help in Google Search Rankings?

Where shall we start?

You're here because you're not ranking well in Google search. Maybe you think Panda or Penguin was unfair and you got penalized for something that wasn't even your own doing. Actually, you don't know. I, too, was perplexed, but the problem for one of my main sites, Three Best which is a travel sorta site about the beaches of the world, has been sinking since 2010.

Admittedly, I let the site go for such a long time because I was concentrating on other projects. But it's a cool site and deserves attention. So recently I have been working on it and I want you to see my findings which will possibly help you.

This post is all about figuring out if page speed actually does help you rank higher in Google search. So, let's start with that and we'll tackle the other findings in other posts.

Use this site to see how fast your page loads: 

Critical stuff: Well, it's all critical, but your Time to First Byte should be quick. This is the time that a browser makes a request to the server and actually gets a byte of data back. Round-trip sorta thing. And then everything after that should be quick as well.

As you can see, I've worked on getting this down to a 3.3 second page load. For a site with as many pictures and dynamic loads as this, using Wordpress, the load time is pretty good. And yes, I use a CDN (content delivery network - which means placing your files in the "cloud" and having them served efficiently to the closest datacenter to the "cloud" servers.

But it hasn't always been this fast.

Look at this graph from my Google Webmaster Tools for

There were many times that pages on my site took 14 seconds to load!!

Still, I don't believe this is what pulled my site down into oblivion. For now, I'm kinda thinking the competition, sites like and other sites that actually show a resort or hotel have taken a lot of my positions in Google search.

I really don't know. I'm guessing. Some pages are filled with assorted nonsense for key phrases that I used to rank number one for. But others are saying this, too. You have to provide what Google feels is a good experience for the end user.

So far I have noticed a very small increase in the SERPs for my site, and I'll keep monitoring, but I really believe that there are two other things: some bad backlinking and maybe Google doesn't think the site does a good job of responding to what people really are looking for. There are ways to improve that, and I'll cover them in a future post. Thanks for reading. 

UPDATE: So far, after three weeks of Super Fast Pages... ZERO improvement in ranking. See my update here:

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