At the end of last year, Google’s Matt Cutts hinted that speed could become a factor that Google looks at for ranking search results.
This was big news in the SEM world and got many webmasters worrying that their website didn’t load quickly enough. (We even devoted a whole post to how to fix your site.)
Despite the fact that Google never said that page speed would become any more important of a ranking factor than anything else, many webmasters went into overdrive. This has prompted Cutts to release a video to set the record straight.
The following question was asked by a user: Since we’re hearing a lot of talk about the implications of Page Speed, I wonder if Google still cares as much about relevancy? Or are recentness and page load time more important?
Cutts’ simple and direct answer was:
No. Relevancy is the most important. If you have two sites that are equally relevant (same backlinks…everything else is the same), you’d probably prefer the one that’s a little bit faster, so page speed can be an interesting theory to try out for a factor in scoring different websites. But absolutely, relevance is the primary component, and we have over 200 signals in our scoring to try to return the most relevant, the most useful, the most accurate search result that we can find. That’s not going to change.
However, Cutts didn’t dismiss the idea of speed. He said that not only is a fast website better for users but it can also “potentially, down the road, being good for search engines.”
Considering there are over 200 factors that Google considers when determining a website ranking, I wonder if page speed would really play that big a role. What do you think? Feel free to share your thoughts below.
Courtney is an online marketing and communications specialist at ineedhits - a leading search engine marketing firm with over 16 years experience. Courtney has been living and breathing online marketing for over 5 years. She specializes in web and communication marketing, while providing news and opinion to online marketing communities.