While the SEO community have been chattering away about page load times as a ranking factor in 2010, Google have quiely released new much needed Labs functionality into Webmaster Tools enhancing site performance reporting.
From the Google Webmaster Support page:
Google’s goal is to provide users with the most relevant results and a great user experience. Fast sites increase user satisfaction and improve the overall quality of the web (especially for those users with slow internet connections), and we hope that as webmasters improve their sites, the overall speed of the web will improve.
Login to your Google Webmaster Tools account and check out the Labs link in the left hand navigation – you’ll find the site performance tools in there.
So, what does the tool look like?
Note from Patrick – this is what it says about Blogstorm:
On average, pages in your site take 7.3 seconds to load (updated on Nov 30, 2009). This is slower than 86% of sites.
The Labs tool reports on overall site performance (visible in the chart above) with a summary of individual URL performance. Like the Page Speed plugin, the Labs tool makes basic recommendations to webmasters on improvements they might make.
This latest release certainly confirms the general feeling from SEO’s that page load will become a ranking factor in 2010. Google certainly appear to be supporting the move towards a faster web by providing easily accessible tools for Webmasters to speed up their websites.
On the (Labs) tool, Google warns:
Site Performance is a Labs feature, so it’s experimental. We’re continuously working on refining the techniques used in calculating Site Performance, and we hope to improve its usefulness over time. Nevertheless, if you have a strong reason to believe that the data shown for your site is extremely inaccurate, please let us know by posting a message in our Help Forum. We can’t guarantee a response to every inquiry, but we’ll try our best.
Hat tip to Rob Nicholson for the heads up. Thanks Rob!