Load Time Now Officially a Factor in Ranking

stop watch

A bit ahead of its originally-stated launch date of June 15th, Google has begun taking how fast or slow your website or landing page loads as a significant factor in determining ranking for pay-per-click campaigns on AdWords. You can see your ad or ad groups’ load time grades form within AdWords. Tons of more info is available on the official Help page from Google.

I think some interesting things to note are that:

        · An entire ad group’s load time grade is based on the *slowest* destination URL in that ad group.

        · Google rates your load time by comparing it to the the average load time of other pages in the geographic region where you’re website’s server is located – regardless of it’s domain or target (i.e. if you have a website all about American travel but it’s hosted in the Philippines, it’ll be graded against other websites in the Philippines).

Overall the goal is to obviously improve things for Google’s users but in my experience so far with Google’s load time analysis I’ve discovered that they can be very demanding. We have some AdWords campaigns for websites that are on par with many other e-commerce websites’ load times. Google still flagged some of the ads and we must have been within seconds of their required maximum but our adds were turned off until we demonstrated that there really wasn’t a reasonable amount of delay in load time. If you’ve ever dealt with Google’s support via email you know that this can be a slow process.

Improving things for users is always good but unfortunately Google offers little in the way of advice on how to improve a web page’s load time. The solutions they list in the help document amount to ‘ask your web designer or hosting provider.’

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