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In 2010, Google implemented a weighted signal that factored page speed into its search engine algorithms. Page speed is specified as:“the time from when a user clicked on the link to when the page was fully loaded”. Google didn’t reveal the specific math behind how important page speed is with regard to rankings, but according to the Google Webmaster Blog, it will be much less important than factors like topical relevance and reputation. It was a logical step, since faster loading pages allow for the user to reach their destinations that much quicker, and that is the essential purpose of Google’s search engine. The difference in speed between one site and the next may be a few hundred milliseconds, a tiny increment of time,but Google’s Web Search Infrastructure department places some importance on these incremental differences. When a user has to wait longer for a page to load, they have to wait longer to fulfill the purpose of coming to the website, so they spend less time absorbing what they came to see and moving on to the next search. Usersperforming 0.2% less searches may seem an acceptable margin at a glance, but when we consider that 3.5 billion Google searches are performed daily, the effected group becomes enormous. Essentially, speed matters to Google, so it should matter to those looking to use it as a platform to expand the reach of their site.

When deciding which elements are necessary to convey your message, their effect on page speed should be at least a consideration. You may find that sacrificing a bit of speed to include that elegant JavaScript button is worth it for the overall aesthetic, or you may decide that speed is more important for that particular page. You should also compress elements like images and video that increase load times whenever possible. Again, this is a matter of specifics. A site that is mostly text-based and uses imagery just to fill in spaces could get away with a slight hit in quality in favor of speed, but a graphic design company would probably want to sacrificea little speed so the visuals remain high-quality.

Here are a few tools recommended by Google to help analyze the speed of your pages, so you can make sure your ranking isn’t being negatively affected by time-consuming elements:

1. Yslow (http://yslow.org)
2. Web Page Test (http://www.webpagetest.org)
3. Google Page Speed Tools (https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/?csw=1)

Blog References:
1. https://webmasters.googleblog.com/2010/04/using-site-speed-in-web-search-ranking.html
2. http://www.shoutmeloud.com/google-started-ranking-websites-based-on-load-time-and-speed.html
3. https://research.googleblog.com/2009/06/speed-matters.html