Google has launched a web-based site speed checking tool that helps you check your sites’ speed and provides tips on how to increase speed of your pages. Google has admitted that site speed is one of the many factors they look at when ranking sites, so if you’re concerned about your site’s SEO your site’s uptime, page speed etc should be on your list of things to keep an eye on do your best to improve. The tool doesn’t give you a seconds to load time, it just gives you a general score and looks at the elements that could be improved to increase the score.
The tool is very easy to use, just enter your site’s URL then click enter and your provided with a list of prioritized suggestion on how to speed up the page, now that’s the easy, the hard part can be actually implementing these changes, it could involve a total site redesign in some cases.
Another handy feature is the ability to test mobile versions of sites, you do have a mobile version of your site right? If not check out this blog post where I talk about the rapid increase and proliferation of local + mobile and why you need to start thinking about this more sooner then later esp. if you’re a local brick and mortar type business.
As useful as this information is it’s only half the picture as there are many server side issues it can’t see for example most websites these days are made not of static HTML pages but from dynamic database driven platforms that dynamically display the site’s pages on the fly, calling up the database on each page load, dozens maybe hundreds of times for just one page for a poorly coded site. Implementing some of these changes can be much harder then you think, as most sites these days are much more complex then the old days of static websites where changes where much easier. Your site might be constructed on a CMS or Blogging platform or ecommerce shopping cart system and involve many 3d party modules and customizations as well. Basically hundreds if not thousands of lines of code can be involved with just one “simple” 5 page business site that’s using a platform. Hopefully if it’s a good platform the template is separate from the code and many of the site speed suggestions like reduced image size, CSS optimization etc can be implemented without too much drama.
These serve side code issues would require a developer and server admin working together to analyze and optimize both the code and the prioritization of the database calls. Ideally each website would have it’s own dedicated servers that can be configured specifically to run that one website, as one configuration might be good for one site doesn’t work so well for another. So if you have an important website and you can budget $200-500/month for a dedicated system that would be ideal so it can be tuned just for you site. The real big advantage of a dedicated server is the fact you’re not sharing the same server with dozens or hundreds of sites as in the case with big hosting companies. So many sites on one server are bound for something to go wrong and can cause excessive downtime another thing you want to avoid as the search spiders coming to a site that’s offline when they visit is a very bad thing, or even if the server is too busy and running slow and the site responds really slow, that’s not a good thing either and on the top 10 list of SEO mistakes.
Give it a try at http://pagespeed.googlelabs.com/, any thoughts, questions comments please reply below, look forward to hearing from you!