We all new that page loading speed was a factor to Google for years but it was never officially released by them as to what extent. Google has obviously been running extensive tests and has concluded that if page load times decrease by even milliseconds, it substantially increases the load on their servers by increasing the number of concurrent searches being performed and waiting for sites to load.
What does this mean to your site? Well this means you could be suffering poor search rankings as your quality score is affected by your slow loading site.
Why would my site be slow? The usually culprit for slow loading sites is poor hosting choice. Google is starting to load finite numbers of pages in search results from shared servers as it is getting more and more common for large hosting providers to put hundreds even thousands of sites on a single server. In my opinion one of the WORST hosting companies is godaddy, especially for wordpress hosting. They seem to be cramming thousands of sites on each shared server and their SQL servers seem to be outsourced therefore you are relying on your database connections to travel outside of the server farm your site is on. WordPress is quite heavy on the database connections and sometimes makes 10-15 database queries per visitor depending on plugins etc.
How do i know if my site is slow? There are many tools out there to check your site speed, but why not use the tool that Google offers for free to determine if they find your site slow? If you are all setup with Google Webmaster Tools, then login and in the dashboard, head on down to labs at the bottom left and then click on site performance.
It will show you the following information:
This page shows you performance statistics of your site. You can use this information to improve the speed of your site and create a faster experience for your users. Learn more
On average, pages in your site take 0.5 seconds to load (updated on Jan 19, 2010). This is faster than 97% of sites. These estimates are of low accuracy (fewer than 100 data points). The chart below shows how your site’s average page load time has changed over the last few months. For your reference, it also shows the 20th percentile value across all sites, separating slow and fast load times.
I noticed on one of my wordpress sites (above) that in early September, once I got rid of Godaddy as a host and moved to dedicated hosting, my rankings I was optimizing for and getting backlinks on started to improve.
So make sure to check your site performance in Google Webmaster Tools and switch to a dedicated server or at least a robust host that isn’t overloading their servers with sites. I switched to WP Webmasters for hosting and have had extremely fast sites since.
Please share your experiences with this subject with us or ask any questions in the comments below.