- Page load speed
- Personalized search
Page Load Speed:
Google recently announced that page speed will be a factor in page rank. To assist you with measuring this, Goolge has added a new feature in the site performance report under the “Labs”
section of the tool. This report shows you how fast
your site loads compared to other sites, as well as your sites performance over time, and provides you with tips
on how to improve pages. Google also released a Firefox Add On called Page Speed that works with Firebug.
It may seem strange that Google is making page speed a criteria for page rank. However, page load times significantly contribute to user satisfaction. If a site is difficult to navigate or takes too long to retrieve information from it, the user experience is lessened and contributes to things such as increased bounce rates.
Additionally, Google is releasing a public DNS resolver. WTH is that right? It's basically a system that enables computers to read the name of your website URL. This process can contribute to some latency when loading pages so Google has created a system that will perform this process faster and increase your page load speed. They provide step by step instructions on how to switch your site to Google DNS servers if you're interested.
Google has always given its users the ability to record and save their search results and web traffic history. However, this is something you basically had to sign up for. Now, Google will personalize the search results of all users, regardless of whether you've signed up to use their previously existing personalization feature. Don't be too alarmed, you can opt-out completely of the feature if you choose.
It's interesting to think how this will affect SEO/SEM. Google will now change the page rank of content based on the end users preference. For example, if you search for 'books' online and consistently choose Powell's bookstore in Portland over Amazon, Google will learn this behavior and present Powell's to you ahead of Amazon in the returned search results. Even though Google claims that they will not change the page rank of all sites based on user preference, they won't fully disclose how much of a change they will make. So, in this example, even though Amazon's SEO/SEM tactics worked well in the past, they could start to lose their page rank on a user by user basis
What does this mean for your hospital's or healthcare staffing agency's marketing efforts?
First, if you haven't improved your website in at least the last 3 years – it's over due. Many web coding standards have changed in this time and not keeping up can put your website at risk for quickly becoming invisible to Google, having poor page speed performance and ultimately, decrease your page rank. Additionally, if your site is over bloated with images, text, Flash or design in general it might be a good idea to consider how to simplify things.
Second, I'm really curious to see how SEO/SEM professionals will respond to Google's personalized search changes. At some level I would assume that some new tactics will have to be employed. Personally, I would monitor my PPC campaigns a bit more closely over the
next several months and see if anything is changing as well as consider
doing some new keyword research in this same time frame. However, I wouldn't worry too much because I would also expect that certain things will stay the same. Most likely, effective PPC campaigns will remain effective and, most importantly, I'd always keep in mind that good amounts of quality content will produce positive results every time.
I welcome any thoughts, insight or experience anyone has on this topic.