Posts Tagged ‘Google rank’
Google’s Matt Cutts hinted this past week that Google is considering using a site’s speed as part of the algorithm that ranks the order of pages in its search results. Fast sites might rank higher, while slower-loading sites might suffer. It’s a proposal that’s proving controversial.
To quote from Cutts’ video interview on WebProNews:
…A lot of people within Google think that the web should be fast, it should be a good experience; and so it’s sort of fair to say if you’re a fast site, maybe you should get a little bit of a bonus. Or maybe if you have a really awfully slow site, users don’t want that as much.”
Reasons for Ranking Fast Sites Higher
I can think of plenty of good reasons why Google might pursue this strategy: a fast web is better for users, site owners, and Google itself. For instance:
1. Google searches are more productive: Giving fast-loading sites a boost in the rankings improves the user experience for those coming from Google.com. You’ll know that if a site is near the top of the results, you won’t be waiting an eternity after clicking.
2. User experience improvements on wider web: with site owners incentivized to improve speed to appease Google, the whole web might speed up. That’s better for users.
3. More revenue for everyone: Google ads are everywhere on the web, so giving site owners an incentive to address speed issues increases pageviews, clicks and revenue for both the publishers and Google itself.
Reasons Against Ranking Fast Sites Higher
Some are none too pleased with the proposal, however. In particular, blogger Douglas Karr is up in arms about the idea that Google would prioritize fast sites and penalize slow ones.
His main argument against the move: penalizing slow sites would mean that the “little guy”, running a successful site on his GoDaddy hosting account, would be knocked out of the Google rankings by big companies that could afford “loadsharing, caching, web acceleration or cloud technologies”. There are other strong reasons against too:
1. Favors big / powerful sites: As Karr notes, big companies are best able to plow resources into technical prowess. This could disrupt Google’s egalitarian basis, and the whole idea of the web as a meritocracy.
2. Greatest benefits go to Google: Who benefits most from Google.com results loading fast for the user? Who gets the most benefit when millions of sites running AdSense suddenly have a lot more inventory (users click more on faster sites)? Who saves masses of money on crawling the web if web site owners optimize their pages for speed? Which company is able to grow its stock price faster the more people get online and have a good web experience? Google, Google, Google. Publishers get an individual benefit, of course, but in aggregate the value is really greatest for Google itself.
3. The fastest site isn’t always the best result: If I’m searching for a local business, I probably want to find its website. But local businesses rarely have sites optimized for speed; the big business listings sites would almost certainly score higher on the speed metric. The same rule applies across numerous industries: speed and relevance are not related.