June 12, 2012

O’Rourke on how hotel website speed impacts SEO

Hotel website speed and performance is really about the end user and providing them with a superior experience. The fact that it matters for SEO is an important second consideration.

For over two years Google has been talking very vocally about site speed and performance and the role that it plays in search. Back in April 2010, this post highlighted why they care so much about speed and even discussed how site speed and performance is a ranking factor for search results. This is one of those things that really helps highlight how complex search engines really are and the technology behind what they do. The following case study provides a pretty good example of how speed and performance impacts the process that search engines, in this case Google, go through to find, index and rank content from across the web.

Despite the fact that Google’s announcement about speed and performance was from back in 2010 I rarely hear marketers and agencies talk about it. I’m not sure why this is and so I want to share some more information about this and something we just learned from our own website. We launched a new website back in March 2012. This update for us was a complete overhaul. We changed the design, information architecture and perhaps most importantly the content management system that we use. It was a big upgrade, moving us from an older, archaic setup to one that is more current with web technologies.

Google, through their Google Webmaster Tools portal, provides some great data to website owners about how Google is interacting with your site. One of the items is the amount of time they spend downloading a page. This could be impacted by the way your page is programmed, the technologies you use, your hosting provider, how many images the page has, and more. But the goal is to be as fast as possible, for both users and search engines. In the chart below you can see that when our new site launched at the beginning of March there was an immediate impact.

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