Google speeding things up - but why?
Google published a lot of news and updates lately. One even more spectacular than the other. What to think of Google Wave? Or Google Voice? Anyway, a few of the latest updates are interesting, because of the fact they mainly focus on the element 'speed'. It seems that Google is putting more and more weight on speed. We encourage it, because we continuously want things to be faster and faster. But why is Google so focussed on speed? Whats in it for them?
That's was the main question we discussed (on Wave!) with a few Dutch SEO's. The discussion was input for an (Dutch) article, written by Jeroen van Eck of E-Difference, which I translated to make it accessible for you all.
Things started with a study that proved the fact that slow result pages had an influence on the number of search queries, published on the 23th of June.
As a result, Google opened an environment for developers to present and show methods and tutorials to speed up websites. Google also has been spreading tips and tricks to improve the load times of websites. Just recently Google announced that webmasters can turn to Google Webmaster Central and receive more information to improve site performance.
When we look at some Google products, we know for instance that the Google browser Chrome really toke the speed-element in browsers to a higher level. Websites load in the blink of an eye. Next to that, Google also announced on their blog Chromium that they are developing an alternative for the well known HTTP protocol, called SPDY. And let's not forget the Google DNS, which was introduced to the public a short while ago, and the fact they created an asynchronous tracking script for Google Analytics.
The announcement of speed becoming an algorithm factor, probably was the biggest news in our branch lately.
The main question we had was: why is Google so focussed on speeding things up?
Google and a faster internet
Its clear all of us that speed is top priority for Google, and somehow suddenly they want us to give it a high priority too. I encourage Google to focus on speed. But what is their reason? Whats in it for Google? We've summed up some pro's for Google.
1. Google can index fast websites much faster
When we look at the caffeine update, its clear that Google's new infrastructure is much faster. Several tests done by myself and others showed that the engine loads the search results much quicker. It would be a nice addition if the websites in the top results would load quick too. Next to that, when Google is able to spider websites faster, they can index them quicker. And that's important, when they want to present us (close to) real time results.
2. Google wants happy users
I like speed, you probably like speed too. We are all on broadband now, and we surely don't want to be remembered the "56k6" days. So a fast search engine with fast loading results has a positive influence on the user experience. And the more happy we are, the more likely it is we come back for another search.
3. Fast loading websites generate more income
The result of the study mentioned earlier, was that the loading times of result pages had a big influence on the number of searches in Google. With webpages loading faster, the number of searches increased. And with an increasing number of searches, the number of clicks on ads is also increasing. And with that facts, we can state that Google generates more income when websites load faster.
4. Speed is used as a cover
Another speculative theory is that Google wants to 'speed things up' to be able to introduce new products and services that simply gather more data. Data from Chrome, data from requests on their DNS servers, data from their protocol SPDY, etc. The more data Google has, the better it can target ads to specific users. More important is the fact that they will be able to better estimate the value of a keyword based on more information on the number of conversions it generates. And with that information Google could, for instance, (artificially) increase click prices for keywords that tend to generate more business.
Well, what can we tell from all this? Sure, Google benefits from a faster search engine when they generate more clicks. On the other hand, maybe they are working on something bigger and we only see some movement on the surface? One thing is for sure, when its up to Google we all benefit a faster internet. But whats in it for Google? Let us know and leave your thoughts in the comments!
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