Optimizing websites for search engines and users is becoming increasingly complex. Whereas at the end of the 1990s, the quantity of backlinks and keyword density were major factors for a good ranking, nowadays Google uses hundreds of criteria to decide on how relevant a website is with regard to a specific search term.
The ranking factors have continued to develop as far as technical aspects are concerned as well. This includes the loading speed of a website. Already in 2009, Matt Cutts stated in a video post that page speed could become a ranking factor for Google one day. This vague announcement finally came true in May 2010 when Google officially announced that, “today we’re including a new signal in our search ranking algorithms: site speed. Site speed reflects how quickly a website responds to web requests.”
This step was explained in that post with the fact that not only Google, as a technically oriented company enjoys speed, it also improves the user experience and would reduce operating costs.
One could argue that with this change in the search algorithm, for the first time a technical aspect was included as a ranking factor. So far, mainly external factors such as backlinks or internal factors such as keyword density and the use of keywords were ever considered by the search engine. The fact that the announcement of a new ranking factor was carried out in an official blog post, was also something special.
Another possible background could also be the fact that Google is not just a search engine provider, but also a global corporation that sells search engine advertising. In order for this advertising to be satisfactory to users, fast websites are required. Since 2010, Google likely favors faster loading webpages for that reason as well.
As a result of the announcements, Page Speed Insights was created, which was first presented at the Google developer conference I/O 2011 To date, the tool has been gradually expanded, so that you can now establish and test the loading speed for any website on mobile devices and desktop PCs.
Page Speed Insights is divided into two sections “mobile” and “desktop.” As soon as you enter a page in the search bar and click the “Analyze” button, the analysis starts.
You will then get information on the technical components of the website.
Page Speed Insights provides not only purely analytical results, but you will also get information on the potential for improvement.
The focus is on the reduction of files that must be loaded for rendering a website.
mod_pagespeed is a free module for Apache servers, with which loading speed can be optimized. There are several configuration options that do not require content changes to your existing website. The module is suitable for both individual websites and complete content delivery networks.
In addition to many popular tools for web analytics, Page Speed Insights is part of the standard repertoire for webmasters and search engine optimizers. Since loading speed of a website is an officially declared ranking factor, at least as much attention should be paid to the analysis of performance as is given to content optimization. After all, slow loading websites can frustrate users, as has been explained by Google  and Microsoft already in 2009. Today, the focus has increasingly shifted to the fact that websites must perform perfectly with short load times on any device. Google’s Page Speed Insights will provide good support in this area.