On November 11th, the Google Chromium Blog posted that Google was developing a SPeeDY (SPDY) protocol to help decrease page load times. The new protocol isn’t supposed to replace HTTP/TCP but rather work at the application layer to augment it for performance.
You may be wondering, why is this on at all relevant to search and being mentioned on a search engine marketing blog?
Well, I would have turned a blind eye to it as well if it was not for Matt Cutts. This past week was the annual PubCon Las Vegas gathering of world wide search engine marketers where tips/tricks and the like are shared by prominent industry professionals. Daily, especially at PubCon, Matt is always looked to for the latest information on what is important to the Google ranking algorithm and in a session he stated that “site speed matters… it will be an important trend in 2010″.
The 1-2 punch of Google developing a protocol to speed up site load times and the comment made by Matt Cutts should be setting of some bells and whistles. What does this mean for my site rankings in 2010? Just HOW important will this be? What can I do now?
Site load times has always been on the table as a concern to the search engines and your rankings. Good webmasters and SEOs have been sculpting sites to load as efficiently as possible for years. There are both technical server side issues that could be slowing down your site and on-page coding issues that could be slowing down your site.
If you have done the best you can from a technical standpoint or they are out of your control, take a look at the code of your site to reduce load times.
Site visitor interactivity through engagement objects where a large push in 2009 but some of these elements such as more images, video, slides, widgets, etc add additional time for a page to load. Reevaluate how many engagment objects you are using on your site and eliminate non-critical elements.
If you site is dynamic (database driven) pressure your developers to be more efficient with the queries. Each query takes time to transfer data and slows the page down.
Google is measuring site load times in milliseconds so every little bit that you can do to help will have an impact on your load time.