Google likes a quickie (as do I)

Google are now factoring in page download speed when determining the Quality Score of your PPC ads. Well done Google, this could help push developers of those really annoying, SLOW websites into improving their speed. This would make me happy… I really hate slow loading websites.

I was surprised (and somewhat annoyed) to read that slow loading websites apparently cost us Brits 2.5 days every year (just imagine what we could all do with those!) Slow websites are also Britain’s top web complaint which comes as no surprise to me. I don’t know about you, but if a website is really slow to load, I tend to abort my mission however important the information is to me. I seem to come across this quite a lot these days and I feel that the advent of Web 2.0 has changed how many websites are designed leading to image heavy (although lovely looking) websites that ultimately are much slower to load.

My rant is not totally unfounded now that page load times are a factor in Google attributing Quality Score to keywords in your Pay Per Click (PPC) campaigns. Quality Score measures how relevant your keyword is to your PPC ad text and to your user’s search query. It effectively determines the position of your PPC ad on Google and partly determines your keywords’ minimum bids. In general, the higher your Quality Score, the better your ad position resulting in you spending less (hoorah!)

PPC landing pages have a large part in determining your quality score and with page load times now a factor in this, we need to look at ways to keep your sites download speed down.

  • Firstly I would suggest that all images are optimised as much as possible. You could shrink the size of your images, crop out any additional space in the image or even remove some images. Do you really need all the images?

  • You should also try to ensure that all HTML code, JavaScript, CSS files are optimised as much as possible to try to reduce page load time of your site pages.

  • Page loading speed could also be the result of a web server problem whereby your server is not capable of handling traffic. In this case, you should update your server settings and ensure they are configured correctly to handle your traffic.

  • You can also be sure that any animated GIF’s or use of Flash will slow down the loading speed of a page.

All of the above are things that you should check your website against in order for your site to be correctly optimised to maximise on its performance. This is particularly crucial to all companies that have Google PPC campaigns. Not only will faster loading speeds make your site more usable and accessible to your target audience, but it would make a lot of Brits happier as we can plan what to do with our extra 2.5 days each year!

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