03/10/08
Loading…..”Hurry Up or Cough Up” says Google

Adding to the increasing complexity of the AdWords “Quality Score” algorithm, Google has announced that page loading times will soon become a key factor.

The intention is that sites runing advert-heavy pages will be penalised in an effort to improve the “user experience”. Google claims conversion rates are lower when page loading times are poor, as users abandon the site, a claim supported by many frustrated browsers.

Loading Please Wait

Losers

Flash Sites and Image-Heavy Websites – as Flash sites tend to require more image requests from the server than a typical html site, they may be penalised under the new calculations.

Poorly Hosted Websites – the jury is still out on whether cheaper hosting packages result in slower server responses, but inferior hardware undoubtedly takes its toll.

Winners

Text-Only Sites – we might see retailers using incredibly simple text-only landing pages (or maybe defaulting to the low-graphics accessibility pages?).

Google have not (and will not) release details of how much effect loading times will have on the quality score, for all we know it could be minimal, but Google are generally very commited to providing the best search results for their users. There are several conspiracy theories and there is no doubt that any changes will benefit Google’s profit margins but ultimately those who abide by the rules will be rewarded.