It’s a cliché to say we live in an age of impatience, but that doesn’t make it any less true. Internet users expect that the information they want will be delivered to them immediately, and research shows that they won’t wait around — bounce rates are proportional to page load times. The slower a page loads, the more users will click the back button and return to their search engine to choose the next link in the list, which is likely to be a competitor.
Google, in its effort to direct its users to the sites most likely to satisfy them, uses page load times as one of its signals for determining ranking. All else being equal, you could be losing ranking to a competitor because your site loads less swiftly.
There are various strategies site owners can implement to make sure that their users get the pages they want as quickly as possible, and we’re going to have a look at some of the most important ones here.
Google is secretive about its ranking algorithms. They are a complex mixture of over two hundred carefully weighted signals that contribute to deciding where on the search engine results pages a particular page appears.
People don’t like complexity and secrecy, especially when their income depends on the information that’s hidden. They yearn for quick and simple solutions, and so naturally there arises a group who will sell them spurious peace of mind. In our industry, that place is occupied by the bad SEO, who promises a quick-fix ride to the top of the SERPs, often employing many of the methods we’re about to discuss. No SEO worth his salt is going to rely on these techniques, or promise an easy and simple solution to the problem of ranking well.
These techniques might have been successful at one point, but are now either entirely useless, or will cause damage to a site’s ranking in the long term, either because they just don’t work to improve SEO, or because they result in a penalty from the search engines.
Much of the time Google will not impose a penalty on sites that indulge in these sorts of strategies, but they frequently disregard the links in question. For sites, that means they will have invested a lot of money in SEO that brings no benefit.
As usual, this month we’ve trawled the wilds of the Internet to bring you what we think is the most informative, timely, and useful content. Enjoy!
Search Engine Optimization