Today this will be quick. It’s been long known that Google will hammer you for having a slow site. But the turnaround time and the severity of Google’s retribution seems to be getting faster and more vengeful. Take, for example, this auto warranty website which contacted me about some issues they’ve been having. While the site is by no means a barn burner, it has historically had really good load times by all available data points. Well, that was until a couple of weeks ago when Google must have hit them on a very bad day. Check out the page load time out of analytics below:
As you can see, November 7th was a very, very bad day as far as page load time…or, at least the point in the day when Google decided to hit it with a crawl. Now, the image below is the aggregate rankings for 25 of their best keywords. Can you guess which day was November 8th? Yes, I know the dates are on the image, just try to ignore those.
Needless to say, the site got hammered pretty hard, and the free fall continued for a few more days before it started making a comeback, though it’s still not back up to its previous levels. All other things being equal, this is a pretty vicious slap by Google, but a healthy reminder that when it comes to speed, you better make sure your site can keep up with what Google wants, as often as it wants. This is a relatively low authority site, which makes me wonder what would happen if it was substantially more or less authoritative. I can’t fathom Google dinging a news website that had a bad crawl or two. Your thoughts?