Many SEO experts used to preach about Google’s infamous ‘Page Rank’ (named after Larry Page) – which provides a 0-10 metric to determine your webpage’s online clout.   They would say that Page Rank directly correlated to where a webpage would show up in Google’s search results; a high page rank meant a webpage would more likely show up towards the top of the 1st page, and a low page rank would cast out a webpage  to aimlessly float in the untouched search engine wastelands.

Today, Page Rank (which you can determine through various online page rank checker tools) simply doesn’t mean much at all.  Take the Google search ‘San Francisco Web Design‘: 2 of the 3 top results have a 0 Page Rank, and most of the top results on the 1st page don’t break a PR of 5.   Clearly Google is taking factors other than Page Rank into play when determining the order  of these results.

So with the changing SEO times, what does really matter to Google now?  Beyond getting the SEO Basics like targeting industry keywords and updating a page with fresh content, what seems to really matter is page load time – or Page Speed.  Google’s quest to bolster the speed of the entire internet is underway, and part of them achieving this goal means they want to reward sites that load faster by ranking them higher.  Technology Review Magazine recently published an eye-opening article that sources several studies on user interaction based on website load time.  Some of the figures are revealing, such as the the percentage of lost conversions jumping from 22% with a 3 second load time to 46% with a 10 second load time.  A minuscule 1 second page load delay leads to 11% fewer page views, 16% decreased customer satisfaction, and 7% lost conversions.  That’s only 1 second!

It’s clearly in the benefit of Google, users and all website owners to speed up the internet as a whole.  So what should you do?  Webmasters should be utilizing all the tools at their disposal, including the ones Google provides, to speed up their sites.  Page Speed (which could also be named after Larry Page) is here to stay folks, and it matters for SEO on a number of levels, especially because Google ‘says so.’  Stay tuned for a step-by-step guide on increasing your website’s Page Speed.