Google, everyone’s favourite search engine (mine) confirmed on 9 April 2010 that they use a website page speed as a ranking factor according to a blog post on their official blog: Google Webmaster Central Blog.

According to them “Faster sites create happy users and we’ve seen in our internal studies that when a site responds slowly, visitors spend less time there“.

There’s a couple of tools that they recommend that you can use to test the speed of your website.  Have a look at them below.

  • Page Speed, an open source Firefox/Firebug add-on that evaluates the performance of web pages and gives suggestions for improvement.
  • YSlow, a free tool from Yahoo! that suggests ways to improve website speed.
  • WebPagetest shows a waterfall view of your pages’ load performance plus an optimization checklist.
  • In Webmaster Tools, Labs > Site Performance shows the speed of your website as experienced by users around the world as in the chart below. We’ve also blogged about site performance.

The easiest method to check and monitor your Website page speed is by linking your website to Google’s Webmaster tools. There is an option on the Google Webmaster tools “Labs/Site performance” that shows your website page speed in a graphical chart over a period of time.

Even though fewer than 1% of the search queries will be affected by the speed signal of Google, the speed signal doesn’t carry as much weight as the relevance of a page.