The loading speed of a website is important for webmasters not only in terms of end user browsing experience but now it can potentially cause issues in search engine ranking position (SERP). Google has confirmed that site speed is now a ranking factor in search rankings. Google made it official by releasing their research about how even the tiniest change in site speed effects web surfers.
Google reports that when they purposely slowed the search results by 100 to 400 milliseconds it impacted the number of searches per user by -.2% to -.6% and actually increased the longer they were exposed to the slower results. After Google changed the speeds back to normal, users continued to do .21% fewer searches on average for the next 5 weeks.
We know that around half a percent doesn’t seem like much, but neither is the amount that they slowed the site down. It’s reasonable to believe that if your site loads full seconds slower than other sites then your rankings and bounce rate will be negatively effected.
For those who want to check their site speed, they can go to Google Webmaster Center and click Labs then Site Performance to see your site performance.
After reading this report, I downloaded Firefox addon Page Speed and started to analyze Canadian Web Hosting site. I found that gzip web compression and http caching via Expires directive was not enabled. I found an article on how to do modify this on IIS6 here. I then proceeded to see if it was enabled by going to Pipeboost or Port80. There are other helpful articles hosted by Google. Here’s another article on this subject.