Page load download time – it matters

There are lots of rumours circulating at the moment that Google is increasingly using page load time as an important parameter in its ranking algorithm.  That is bad news for those over-engineered sites full of flash, bells and whistles.  But good news for the more simple sites that aim to deliver a simple message, clearly and concisely.

But how quickly do pages load?  Website Optimization offer a free web page analyser tool that will measure download times.  It also provides a record of different object types,

  • HTML
  • HTML images
  • CSS images
  • Total Images
  • javaScript
  • CSS
  • Multimedia
  • Other

For example, the Atracks homepage scores pretty well on most things except for javaScript.

Wso

but for another site, page load times probably are pulling down its rankings!

webpage download speed

The download times may only be a guide, but not everyone is using fast broadband.  A quick look at your stats will show the number who are using some kind of mobile device, which will inevitably have a much slower connection.

Website Optimizer goes on to highlight which areas of the page being analysed are likely to be causing problems.  For examples, for my javaScript excesses, it suggests I

Consider optimizing your JavaScript for size, combining them, and using HTTP compression where appropriate for any scripts placed in the HEAD of your documents. You can substitute CSS menus for JavaScript-based menus to minimize or even eliminate the use of JavaScript.

This is certainly a useful tool.  Not only does it indicate areas that search engines may be struggling with there are big usability issues around download times.  Search engine spiders may not be patient enough to wait for a wiz bang page to download, but human visitors are expecting ever faster page loads.  Even if they can find you, your visitor may well be gone and off to your competitor’s site if he has to hang about waiting.

It isn’t an accident that Google has the cleanest, fastest page home page around!


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