In an interview over the weekend with WebProNews, Matt Cutts, software engineer for Google, had suggested that a site’s speed could determine where it shows up in Google searches.
“We’re starting to think more and more about should speed be a factor in Google’s rankings,” says Cutts. “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.”
Many say, having Google rank searches based on speed could be more productive because by giving fast-loading sites a boost in the rankings improves user experiences for the search engine, because your results will appear almost instantly after clicking on the link. Site owners will want to get into the action, improving their site speeds, making the whole Internet seem faster, something Google would like to see. And of course you can’t not think about the profit aspect of the search engines. By giving smaller sites with fast speed appear towards the top of searches, could benefit not only Google but site owners as well, since many sites have Google ad’s on their pages, which only takes a click to bring in revenue for both site owners and Google.
While, ranking pages based on speed seems great, some people believe there are more downsides to this. Douglass Karr is a blogger, who had expressed his concerns about the issue in a recent post. Among the concerns, many smaller businesses could be wiped off the search engines entirely, if they don’t have the revenue or resources to keep their site’s speed up to par with larger corporations. Karr also notes that the fastest search, isn’t necessarily the best search. This could become particularly true when it comes to local business’ and sites, as they rarely have sites made with speed. Big business listings sites would likely take the top spot when it’s based on speed.
“When Google begins doing this, it’s no longer a business decision,” says Karr, “it’s a business requirement and will simply knock small businesses, regardless of their relevance, off the search engine results page. I don’t believe it’s fair – and it’s the work of a monopoly. Monopolies get to make decisions that impact profit without consequences since there’s a lack of competition.”
Google does seems to be onto something though, since last week they announced that they are in the process of testing a new protocol which could replace the current HTTP, making the Internet nearly 55% faster. The company also recently released a Site Speed site, which helps webmasters with resources specifically aimed at speeding up their pages.