A Closer Look At Google Page Speed

There are a lot of SEO tools that help webmasters to sidestep some repetitive tasks in their work. Here we’re going to take a closer look at an emerging tool that now plays an increasing role in Google’s ranking factor.

Page Speed is a tool incorporated by Google that assists webmasters to optimize their sites’ pages by implementing the best practices of web performance. It measures the time taken for web pages to load on web browsers. This tool has become important since Google included web page loading speed as its ranking factor. A site that has loading issues might be depriving search engine bots from crawling and subsequently indexing its web pages. That will effectively have a negative impact on the website’s ranking on Google SERPs.

How Page Speed Works:

This tool measures the loading speed based on the moment a user requests a web page and the very moment the page fully renders on the user’s web browser. The factors that affect loading of web pages are resource downloads, DNS name resolution, TCP connection setup, HTTP request transmission, fetching of cached resources, parsing and executing of scripts, and object rendering on web pages.

Recommendations:

  • Google recommends that webmasters optimize their sites’ caches by enabling HTTP cache of files that take considerable time to load on web browsers, such as CSS, JavaScript and image files. As an added bonus, HTTP caching helps a site owner to significantly reduce his hosting account’s bandwidth usage.
  • Since HTTP headers are sent in an uncompressed manner, it is recommended to minimize your site’s request overhead by reducing upload size as request header data.
  • Minimize the number of round trip times (RTT) a client is required to make.
  • Since HTML, JavaScript and CSS files need to be loaded, interpreted and rendered by web browsers, it is important to optimize your site’s rendering and performance on clients’ browsers by placing links to CSS files in the document head (<head> </head> section, specifying the sizes of images to avoid unnecessary reflows, implementing early specification of character sets to enable web browsers execute scripts without any delay, using efficient CSS key selectors and by avoiding CSS expressions which degrade rendering performance.
  • In shared hosting environments where bandwidth is a major issue, it is wise to minimize the size of cached web pages, downloads and responses. The best practices are to delete unused CSS files, enable compression, and trip down image, CSS, HTML and JavaScript files.

You’ve seen from what I explained above that SEO, website design, script development and web hosting play important roles that affect web page loading speed. Page speed can be either positive or negative depending on underlying factors. A website that loads too slowly on web browsers can cause the owner loss of business, because web surfers generally lack the patience to wait for slow loading files. To make matters worse, Google assigns poor ranking to slow loading websites.

Page Speed is an open source tool which is available in Google Webmaster Tools, as a Firefox add-on and can be downloaded on Google’s site freely. If you’re confused about the numerous metrics it uses to evaluate loading speed, contact an SEO expert who specializes in search engine-optimized web design to check things out for you.