Google announced today that it will now take a site’s speed into account when calculating how high to rank it in search results.
In a post credited to Amit Singhal, Google Fellow, and Matt Cutts, principal engineer for the Google Search Quality Team, the company explained its rationale:
Speeding up websites is important – not just to site owners, but to all Internet users. Faster sites create happy users and we’ve seen in our internal studies that when a site responds slowly, visitors spend less time there. But faster sites don’t just improve user experience; recent data shows that improving site speed also reduces operating costs.
However, the company assured webmasters that site speed isn’t weighted nearly as heavily as concerns such as relevance. Google says that fewer than one percent of search queries have been affected by the change.
This is another example of how Google can flex its gatekeeping muscle to push for improvements to the overall functioning of the Web.