In an earlier post, I wrote about the push by Yahoo and Google for faster web sites, and that Google has now started to take web site speed into consideration when determining site search engine ranking. It’s an initiative I sympathize with and support. However, there are several huge problems associated with it, which require well thought-out and extremely well-executed policies by Google.
Site speed and content
It is obvious to anyone using the net that if you want rich content, good looking sites and speedy web sites, you have a problem. Lots of content means lots of bytes. Generally, the more content you load, the more you prettify and make your site interesting to look at, the more slowly it will load. Surely, not even Google would like all sites to look as their own home page does? Its excellent for its purpose, but a web looking like that is not what we want! Rather, you, Google and I would prefer Google searches to send us to content-rich, good-looking, and interesting sites like this one or like this site?
For Google and for those of us who use the net, there is a real danger of a boring and mostly text-based internet in our future if Google pushes the page speed criterion too hard! Also, it seems to me that the rule set pushed by Google represents a Google-centric view of the net.
Big guys and small guys
A second concern is with balancing the contributions from the huge internet actors against those of the small guys – small companies, hobby sites, small blogs and the like. A number of the things you can do to speed-up your site are quite demanding, in terms of the required skills, time spent on perfecting the pages and optimizing code, as well as with regard to hosting.
The small guys host on GoDaddy, HostGator and similar places. Those are web hosting sites where the load is high and the pages are served slowly, especially when the servers are strained, for some or other reason, as they often seem to be (most of the low price hosting services seem to load their servers much too close to the max). The big guys, on the other hand, have IT departments, content delivery networks, and dedicated servers in the cloud. It is easy for them to be fast. So, if the speed criterion is pushed really hard, we may end up seeing the big corporations topping all the search result pages from Google.
According to TechCrunch, the internet is already dead and boring. But how boring would Google and Yahoo searches be with the big corporations topping all the search pages? I mean, you don’t really search to find eBay, Yahoo or Amazon, do you? You just go there! So search result pages with the top 10 internet sites on top all the time would make searching boring and un-interesting, and would to some extent defeat the purpose of the search!
The danger of punishing affiliates
It will be interesting to see how this plays out. The problems associated with the Google/Yahoo push for speed are not trivial, and the consequences may be big if the push is pursued too dogmatically. There are other concerns as well, but the ones I have discussed are the main ones – at least to my mind. What do you think?