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Site speed is now a Google search ranking factor

SEO is an ever-changing industry with ever-moving goalposts due to Google continuously tweaking its algorithm to provide higher quality search results to its users. It’s hard for search marketers and hard for SEO companies, too, like mine. Google has shaped the face of the Internet because high rankings on Google are so lucrative that people will always try to make their Web site “appealing” to Google in order to obtain higher rankings. Google is therefore driving forward the overall quality of the Internet inadvertently. One of these areas of higher quality is site speed.

After much speculation on how Google uses site speed measurements, last week, Google officially reported that site speed is indeed a ranking factor. The decision came about after extensive internal studies indicated that when a site is running slowly, visitors will spend less time on the site.
The ranking factor has now been implemented, however currently it will affect only English-language searchers. Google has also expressed that the relevance of a page is still at the forefront of the ranking algorithms, because the new ranking factor might affect less than one percent of all search inquiries. Therefore, if your site is one of the best resources for a specific query, there is still a great chance that your site will stand out over others, even if it is slow.
Web site speed is naturally influenced by dozens of factors, including errors within your code, conflicting applications or add-ons, the size of images, the speed of your host server, the load on your server at a particular time, and the location of your user in relation to server. For example, if a user from the United States visits your server in the UK, the load time will almost certainly be longer than if it was a UK visitor visiting your site.
I am stating the obvious here: No Web site is the same. The Internet has grown exponentially, with billions of Web sites that each have different qualities and functions. More simply, if two Web sites have the same quality in other respects, but one is running slower, obviously the faster Web site provides a better service for its users. Taking the same two Web sites, if one is superior to the other in other quality factors, it might not need to improve its speed, even if the other is faster.
You can use many free tools to understand the page speed and load times of your Web site (many are listed in Google’s official post) and I strongly suggest using these tools to get a better picture of how Google measures your page loading times.

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