Google Caffeine Observations

Here is an interesting thing, the speed that your website loads is now critical to your web performance. We have a page within our site that is purely a navigation pages with all our necessary links on it. It is in general one of the most used pages on our site as all staff access it many times per day.

We have recently moved offices and were without a highspeed connection for the best part of a month. Because of this, some of us worked from home, or used mobile dongle connections in the office.

Now here is where it gets interesting…….. Googles Caffeine update has added average load times into the algorithm in order to speed up the web.

This opens up several points, like where does it get the data?
It turns out we supply in via Google analytics. If you views Googles webmaster tools, you can now see a graph of your sites speed performance. The mark the top 20th percentile as being fast, and the bottom 80th percentile as being slow.

Due to the volume of searches we were conducting via mobile connections, ( in a rural invironment I might add) we saw our average load time rise from a second to over 18 seconds.

At the 18 second point, our site disappeared off the front page of Google for “Search Engine Optimization”, causing a secondary drop in traffic so that the only hits we were then getting were 18 sec average load time.

We were initially stumped as to what had caused the fall from grace, and proceeded to double check ever single element of our process in order to establish the cause.

It turned out that not only had our own visits caused the problem, but we had given Google the data to decide to drop us from the rankings.

What this has done is to force us back to the drawing board, to speed up our design to the point that our new pages load in 0.8 sec ave, while having 900 k of data, some 6 times more than many of our front page competitors. This all means that we can carry more of our message than our competitors can and so drive sales.

The good news is that once we narrowed the problem down and took steps to fix it, we returned back into the top three, as if nothing had happened!

It raised a few questions, for example if you have a site that receives mostly mobile searches, you may well be penalised….. if you use Google analytics. How do you resolve that situation?

While I commend Google for their efforts, the current system is quite bug ridden, as potentially you could affect a competitors rankings by repeatedly loading their site using a mobile device…….. it is surely just a matter of time before someone does just that?

as one of the leading Search engine Optimization companies in the UK, it is important to stay one step of ahead of the major engines, but with this update it is difficult to pre guess which way they will go with it. One thing is for certain, if you have a slow site, you should remove Analytics as soon as possible as you will start to slide in the rankings eventually.

Find out more Search Engine Optimization

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