Every online marketer knows that the speed with which pages are loaded and rendered directly impacts your business in many ways: page views, bounces, conversion rates, and ultimately revenues. Web page performance even affects brand perception! (see here for an overview) Speed also impacts ranking in search results and thus is a factor to be looked at in SEO.
Typically it is relatively easy to achieve high SEO rankings for “long tail” search terms, where there are simply not many pages to compete with, for example a search term consisting of multiple or “exotic” words. For the “short tail” mainstream search terms the situation is different. You simply have to truly excel in any of the 3 key search ranking drivers: Brand/Links, Content, and UX/Speed.
Google communicated as far back as 2010 that it would take speed into account as part of its PageRank algorithm. More recently it suggested it would do the same for mobile pages when determining mobile page rankings.
Now “speed” can mean many things, and can be measured in many ways – from a relatively simple measure like Time to First Byte (TTFB) to reach the browser to more end-to-end measure around the total time it takes to render a full page.
With PageRank being the elusive algorithm that it is, little is known about exactly how Google measures “speed”. The most detailed reports to date suggest that it is TTFB that is correlated with actual search rank results (whereas for example the total time to load an entire page is not). In the example shown, a reduction of the TTFB by 25% (or 150 milliseconds in the example) was correlated with a search rank increase from 50th to 1st. So let’s focus on the Time To First Byte for now.
TTFB is driven by a 2 main factors:
- The speed at which your IT infrastructure/application can generate content responses
- The speed at which the network between your compute infrastructure and your user can deliver this content.
Developers and operations teams today have a growing amount of technology, services and tools available to optimize their IT development, deployment and performance. On the network delivery side – not so much. Of course there are CDNs that do a great job in serving static content to end users at high speeds – or better phrased – reduced latencies. But CDNs do not help speeding up the delivery of dynamic content your sites create. In addition, CDN-accelerated static content is less likely to be factored in when determining search rankings.
Datapath.io customer engineering and networking teams use us to reduce delays between, for example, their core banking systems or online advertising platforms running on Amazon Web Services and their users and other system they connect to over the public Internet or MPLS connections, achieving latency reductions between 40% and 60%.
Marketers and business owners should talk to their network/engineering DevOps team about solutions that speed up (reduce the latency of) the delivery of their sites as this has a direct and potentially material impact on their search rankings, for example moving you ‘above the fold’ or even onto the first page .
And if your platform runs on Amazon Web Services, integration with Datapath.io is a seamless 1-Click experience, and even the billing is done through your AWS bill. Check us out in the AWS Marketplace or at www.datapath.io.