Do site load times have an impact on Google rankings?

Do site load times have an impact on Google rankings?

November 5, 2019 13 By Stanley Isaacs


It’s time for another round of grab bag questions. We record all these questions on one day, and then we send them out over the course of many different days. So, last time everbody complained that they were seeing the same red polo shirt for like 30 or 40 days in a row. So I actually brought a bunch of different shirts, and we’ll just sprinkle it up and mix it up a little bit so you get a little more variety in your shirts. So let’s start with the first question from Deepesh in New York. Deepesh asks, “What impact do site load times have on Google rankings?” The short answer is, none right now. Now let’s give a little more color. Of course, if a site takes so long to load that we can’t even fetch it, Googlebot can’t get a copy of it, then that will have an effect on your rankings, because your site is essentially timing out. So if your site is taking 20 or 30 seconds to respond to requests, that could be a problem. But if your site takes one second versus two seconds, that has no difference whatsoever on Google’s rankings. So that’s the short answer. Now let’s give a little more color. If you haven’t heard, Larry, Larry Page, has talked about how he wants the web to be. He wants the web to be really fast. Almost as fast as a magazine. Like as soon as you can turn the page, you’re ready for the next page. And so Chrome was built with that philosophy, you know we want to make the web really fast, make it a really good experience. So currently site load times have no effect on Google’s rankings, you know what might happen in the future? I don’t know. I could certainly imagine Google saying, “Well we’d like the web to be faster. What can we do to encourage people to make their sites faster?” And how can we try to get the word out that if your site is faster, people will be happier and they’re more likely to come back to your site or to use your site more often. We’ve seen that on our own site. So it is interesting that we want the web to be fast and we want sites to load quickly. Right now, it’s not at all a factor in our rankings. For the future, who knows what might be involved? Personally, I think it’s a great idea if you can look at some of the ways to make your site a little faster. So for example, don’t include 40 different JavaScript files. You can compact those all into one JavaScript or one CSS file. You know, don’t include huge images when you’re image size is only set to something tiny. There’s a lot of ways that you can minify or compact your pages to make them return faster for users. You can gzip pages, for example. So there’s a lot of ways you can look at that’s really good for user experience. Don’t worry about it from a search engine ranking perspective right now, but it probably can make a really big difference for your users.