Late last year, Google’s Matt Cutts told WebProNews that site performance would be a critical factor this year. Since that time, site performance has been a hot topic in the SEO community. Incidentally, Maile Ohye, also from Google, calls this area an “uncharted SEO territory” in a recent interview with WPN.
For images, she advises webmasters to use image sprites, which are essentially single files that can have multiple images listed throughout the file. This eliminates the task of making file requests for each image. With sprites, webmasters can use CSS to choose which images should display where.
Although the topic of “speed as a ranking factor” has also been getting a lot of press lately, Ohye says users will not wake up one day and find the fastest sites with the highest rankings. She goes on to say that this element of ranking is more suited for sites that are so slow the users are dissatisfied.
Ohye also tells webmasters they can check their own site’s performance by applying the site performance feature in the labs section of Google’s webmaster tools. This tool will tell users how their site compares with all the other sites on the Web.
How is your site’s performance?