Google continues to push the site speed agenda agressively at the end of 2009, as this will be “an important trend in 2010” (via Matt Cutts during PubCon 2009 Panel). In the first two days of December Google has made two announcements involving new ways to analyze and improve site speed.
First, on December 1st the Google Analytics Team announced the Google Analytics asynchronous tracking code. It is a new, alternative tracking code (in Beta) that is designed to decrease page load time. It utilizes different channels to pass data to Google as the site loads. Here are the benefits listed by Google of the new tracking code:
* Faster tracking code load times for your web pages due to improved browser execution
* Enhanced data collection and accuracy
Second, on Decemeber 2nd the Google Webmaster Central Team announced a new tool that will be available in Webmaster Tools called Site Performance. The new tool is a Labs product that is still in development but there is a browser add-on available that will begin relaying data back to Google on load times. Then through Webmaster Tools, you will be able to see aggregated data from visitors that are sharing this information with Google through either the add-on or Google Toolbar. Below is an image of the new Site Performance reporting in Webmaster Tools:
Google’s ultimate goal is to make the entirety of the web faster. They often compare how the web should be viewed as to “flipping pages of a magazine” and should be just as fast.
Search Engine Optimizations professionals continue to debate just how important site speed is to the ranking algorithm. Many believe that it falls very low on the list of ranking factors. But, all of the site speed initiatives that Google has announced and commited to in the past couple months just can not be overlooked (IMHO).
How is everyone perceiving this for 2010? Taking a quick poll or let me know in the comments.