Web developers always say it’s important to speed up a site. Either cut the size of an image, or minimize requests.
Why should we? Everyone has a broadband connection and a fast computer. Why worry about an extra second or two?
First, it’s never just worrying about a second, it’s sometimes worrying about cutting a few milliseconds off a page load. Eliminating 1 HTTP request.
Fixing site perforamance is just as important as doing proper SEO. If you do all the SEO work in the world, Google won’t want to index a slow site.
The graph below shows why. Last week on Thursday I significantly improved the page load performance of this site. According to various metrics average page load was around 8 seconds before the speed improvement. Afterwards it is closer to around 1 second. In some tests page loads went from 15 seconds, to 1.5 seconds. In reality, most of a page now loads in under 500ms, but some ads take an extra trip, and add another half to whole second to page load.
Here’s the graph from my Google Webmaster’s Crawl Stats:
Take a look at the “Time spent downloading a page (in milliseconds)”. Notice the difference between before and after my change last week. Page loads were taking 2-3 seconds, and dropping to under a half second. You can also see the KB downloaded per day has taken an equal drop.
The result is the cool part, look at “Pages crawled per day”. See the spike in page indexing? It directly correlates to more pages being indexed.
This may not directly indicate more traffic, but it does show Google is now more interested in my site. Tells me that site performance may be as important as SEO optimizations.
Otherwise my traffic has increased significantly since the page speedup (over 4x the average traffic) but I can attribute that to many other factors.