So if you are not aware of the upcoming caffeine update scheduled from Google for sometime during the beginning of the year it might be one for the record books. Nobody really knows exactly what will happen but Matt Cutts explains that there will be some significant changes in the way the search engines catalog and display search results for users. There are also going to be some new factors for how a website ranks so things are going to change quite a bit. One new factor Google will be putting a bit more weight on is the time it takes your entire website to load. In years past this was never a major factor.
Now I know that you might think that you see your home page load fairly quickly but this will take into account how long it takes for the entire website to load. Everything from the home page to the very last page in your in your site map. Page load time has always been a much smaller factor but there will be a much larger emphasis put on it now. You will have to be very careful as to what types of images you use and how large the file sizes are. Various plugins and widgets can also often time slow down website load times so it is important to keep this in mind when ever implementing new images for your website. Typically gif’s and jpg files are the best types of image files to use when building a website. Google wants their search engine to be even faster than it already is. People want information quickly so it is important that websites load quickly and easily without too much lag time. Google is usually very secretive when it comes to ranking factors so Matt Cutts has made an effort to not reveal too much information on the matter but has made many subtle hints that it will play a larger role in rankings than in years past. The folks at Google feel that speed is very important to the overall user experience.
This doesn’t mean you have to panic and go through your entire website just yet and make wide sweeping changes. Take a look at some of the more obvious areas of your site as to what might be taking longer to load and what images have larger file sizes. There are many tools online you can use to check your website load time and make photo alterations to improve its performance. Keep in mind when moving towards the future that this will be a larger factor with how your website appears in search results.