What is the Connection Between Website Speed, SEO and Usability?

seo What is the Connection Between Website Speed, SEO and Usability?













A consistent theme from Google during 2009 has been that from their perspective website speed and page load time are a very important part of the online website experience. And Google is looking to make the web a faster experience for customers. In many announcements throughout 2009, Google has focused on this theme of speed and making the web a faster experience. Matt Cutts recently alluded to this when he said:

“Historically, we haven’t had to use it in our search rankings, but a lot of people within Google think that the web should be fast,” says Cutts. “It should be a good experience, and so it’s sort of fair to say that if you’re a fast site, maybe you should get a little bit of a bonus. If you really have an awfully slow site, then maybe users don’t want that as much.”

Matt Cutts is a well known spokesperson for Google, followed closely by those in SEO fields. But most of us outside of SEO circles, and particularly in customer experience, user experience, usability and design, are likely unaware of these comments.

All of that is about to change!

Google has been more explicit in foreshadowing search engine update changes planned for next year. And as Google fully rolls out their “caffeine” update in January 2010, site load time will start to become an explicit factor in website rankings.

A recent interview with Google’s spokesperson Matt Cutts revealed that website load time (or speed) will be a ranking factor. Going forward, Google is going to reward sites that load faster with better SEO ranking.

This is powerful information that impacts both the visible user interface as well as the development decisions affecting the code and site architecture.

So our recommendation is that you start thinking about how to improve your site speed now. If you have not given much thought to page load times, now is a great time to adjust your thinking on this topic so you and your customers can benefit.

Overall, this change represents a win on many fronts for your website. It is a win for the usability of your website and the overall customer experience online. Plus it is a win for your search engine optimization.

In sum, a faster website will improve your customer’s experience on your website, improve your website usability and also improve your search engine optimization rankings.

Thinking about how to improve your site speed is a smart thing to do and will help your site be best prepared for 2010 and beyond.