Archive for May, 2011

Page Load Time and SEO? Yes, they are connected, so you better check your site speed.

May 13th, 2011

A slow page load time doesn’t just cause visitors to hit the back button, it can also affect your rankings.

Google announced it was including site speed in its ranking algorithms as far back as last year. At that time, Matt Cutts at Google clarified that it is only one of 200 factors that the search engine considers and that it doesn’t weigh as much as relevance, reputation, etc. But it still carries weight—and could possibly be a determining factor when sites are close in some of the more important factors.

One year later, some Google actions confirm the significance of page load time

A few weeks ago Google introduced Page Speed Online, a performance analysis tool, which gives developers suggestions on how to decrease load time. This week the search engine giant unveiled a new Page Speed Online API that allows developers to integrate this performance analysis into other tools and dashboards.

Page speed matters for conversions and web visibility. Is your site fast enough?

How to check your page load time

Google’s Webmaster Tools is one way to take a look at your load time—over time. Click on the Diagnostics tab, then Crawl Stats to view a chart that highlights your high, low and average load times over a few months time period. For real time load time, check out Web Page Test.

How to reduce your page load time

Page Speed Online and Web Page Test, which are both FREE, can provide some eye opening information in terms of time and how you can shave it off – but you will probably need your web developer to explain the recommendations and make the changes. Although, Web Page Test gives a grade, so even non-techies can see where the problems lie. So do the tests and talk to your web developer about what they reveal.

Here are some general things you can do to increase your page speed:

1. GZIP Compression. See if your site’s host uses this form of compression, which can really speed up your load time.
2. Reduce the size of your images. But make sure you use a graphics program such as Photoshop or to do so.
3. Cache your pages. This avoids the need for the browser to dynamically generate your page every time. Some content management systems, such as Joomla and WordPress, allow you to do this.
4. Limit your use of 301 redirects. And don’t pile them.
5. Combining CSS / Java Scripts. Load them in external files rather than putting them on every page so that the browser only has to load them one time instead every time someone visits each page.
6. Try a Content Delivery Network.

What are Boost Ads?

May 6th, 2011

The replacement of Google Tags?

Now that Google has officially retired Google Tags, if you were a Tags user have you received a call from a Google representative offering Boost Ads? Some of our clients have and they are asking us, “Just what are boost ads?”

In case you are wondering the same thing, here is a brief overview:

Boost Ads are just that – ads. Similar to Google AdWords, you pay every time someone clicks on your ad. Unfortunately you may not realize this when a Google rep calls you to try to convince you to start a Boost campaign. One of our clients was told it was free and as the rep walked our client through the set up process he then said it was pay per click. When our client questioned the Google rep, he said that pay per click was after he gave the first $100 free. IT IS pay per click.

How do Boost Ads work?

Unlike AdWords, Boost Ads are locally based and work together with your Google Places listing. If you are a former Google Tag user, you already have a Places listing. If you need to create one, visit
Adding Google Boost to your Places listing allows you to advertise on Google and Google Maps, including mobile devices. You set up a monthly budget and create copy for your ad and Google does the rest, including determining what search terms will trigger your ad to be shown and your bidding to have your ad included in the search results. The terms are selected based on your Places listing categories. Google has assigned a cost per click for each search term, which you pay every time someone clicks on your ad.

What information is displayed in a Boost Ad?

Google uses information from your Places listing – your business name, address, phone number, a short description of your business, a snippet from your Place Page, and a link to your Place Page.

Where are Boost Ads displayed?

Similar to AdWords, in a search, Boost Ads are displayed either above or to the right of the search results. In a Google Maps search, they appear above the search results. If your business appears in the organic Places listing results, your Boost Ad will appear in the ads section with a red marker and that red marker will appear on the corresponding map. If your business does not appear in the organic Places results, your Boost Ad will still appear in the ads section, but with a blue marker.

Will a Boost Ad help my organic Places listing rankings?

No. Boost Ads appear in the sponsored ads section – they don’t affect what businesses appear in the organic Places listings.

Boost or AdWords?

If you don’t have the time or the inclination to learn how to create and manage an effective Adwords campaign, or don’t have an Internet Marketing company you can rely on to do so for you, Boost is an option for local advertising. But keep in mind that it has limitations. AdWords provides more options and controls – keyword selection and bid control, local AND national targeting, advanced reporting and different ad formats such as video, display and more – than Boost offers.