Selfish Google – why load speed matters for SEO?

Posted by Ryan on 2010-12-30

It has been a while since Google officially announced that the load speed of your website is actually one of the factors that affect your rankings. Some people think Google does it because load speed is a significant part of user experience and to better the user experience, Google wants to present the searchers faster websites.

Well, it is only a very limited part of the truth.

As a matter of fact, Google takes the load speed into consideration for a “selfish” purpose – the efficiency of Googlebots’ crawling activities.

Say you are an insurance agent. Every morning you wake up, your boss sends you out to meet thousands of clients. You are busy, tired and regularly impatient. You can still keep yourself under control for those of the clients who show up on time. But for the latecomers, you are not that nice. You may probably just leave and won’t report their information to your boss.

This is exactly why the load speed of your site is so important for SEO. There are innumerous pages out there ,waiting for the spiders to crawl. If a spider goes to your competitor’s websites and can download 500 pages/min but can only do 100 pages in the same time on your site. It will definitely go to your competitor’s website more frequently and have more pages indexed than yours.

To a large scale website, 90% of whose traffic comes from long-tail search queries, better indexation means larger traffic.

See the chart below, which is a medium-sized website’s crawl stats in Google Webmaster Tools:

Google Webmaster Tool Crawl Stats

You can see the curve of pages downloaded per day and the curve of time spent downloading a page are almost exactly reversely proportional.

As my dad told me, respecting time is a virtue, like always.

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