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Team Google Are Speed Freaks

Posted by Michael Bloch in web development (Wednesday January 11, 2012 )

Google is addicted to speed – and a recent article in their quarterly newsletter gives a bunch of good reasons; some of which online businesses should take note of.

Google Engineer Urs Hoelzle, author of the article, makes a very interesting observation – if all the Internet users in the USA have to wait for just 5 seconds for a page to load – which isn’t all that slow – collectively, that is 39 years of their time wasted.

Urs notes that a 400ms delay in Google’s search results loading leads to a 0.44 percent drop in search volume – that is a lot of searches when you consider how many queries Google processes in a day, which is around the 3 billion mark.

“Speed isn’t just a feature, it’s the feature,” says Urs.

Beyond Google’s fixation on improving its own speed, and this will be of interest to online merchants, Urs offers some interesting stats on page load speed improvements made to other sites and their effects.

Car review site Edmunds performed some tweaks to reduce load times from nine seconds to 1.4 seconds and ad revenue increased three percent, with page views-per-session jumping 17 percent. When Shopzilla reduced latency (which I assume he’s referring to the amount of time from when a link is clicked until the server hosting the site responds) from seven seconds to two, its revenue increased 7-12 percent and page views, 25 percent.

The article really is fascinating read – you can view it here.

While some larger online merchants spend big bucks to reduce page load time by using all sorts of fancy (expensive) systems, for the average site owner there are a bunch of simple things you can do improve page load speed and all it will cost you is a bit of your time.

Pick up some tips for reducing page load time.


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