Fastest don’t always come first

In our effort to create websites that rank higher on search engine like Google, we’ve spent hours stressing over page sizes, load speeds and server requests.

We’ve compressed images, minified CSS and javascript, reduced server requests and deferred parsing of javascript and HTML – in pursuit of those all important scores on GTMetrix and other site speed measuring tools.

Now it seems it may all have been for nothing.

According to an article by Brian Dean on backlinko.com, which recently analysed 11.8 million Google search results, “We found no correlation between page loading speed (as measured by Alexa) and first page Google rankings.”

Dean also notes that, “HTML page size does not have any correlation with rankings. Heavy pages have the same chance to rank as light pages.”

So what really is important in terms of SEO?

It seems that backlinks are still hugely important. Pages with lots of backlinks from multiple different sites rank above pages with fewer backlinks. “In fact,” Dean says,”The Number 1 result in Google has an average of 3.8x more backlinks than positions 2-10.”

Sites with high grade content also significantly outperformed content that didn’t cover a topic in-depth. The average Google first page result contained 1 447 words. This makes sense when combined with another aspect that helps boost rankings: time spent on the site. Google tends to rank sites higher where visitors spend above average ‘time on site’.

Dean found that, “Increasing time on site by 3 seconds correlates to ranking a single position higher in search results”.

As a copywriter, this is music to my ears! It seems that time spent developing great content really pays off in terms of SEO too!