Posted: July 29th, 2008
Google Webmaster Tools is a wonderful little resource with tools and information for webmasters regarding crawling and indexing of their websites. One nice feature about Webmaster Tools is its message center, that acts as a mini inbox with messages about websites that you have verified with Google. Verification can be accomplished through uploading a specifically named html file or adding a specific meta tag to your homepage.
The usual messages you will see in the message center will be about logged activity, such as crawl rate changes. However, there will occasionally be diagnostic-type messages like “high response time” warnings that you should nota bene. A “high response time” alert in your message center will look like this, followed by the average load times of the slow-loading URLs:
Subject: “Some URLs in the Sitemap have a high response time.”
Description: “Some URLs listed in this Sitemap have a high response time. This may indicate a problem with your server or with the content of the page.”
Why You Should Care
It was announced last month that landing page load times affect quality scores and implied that searchers, and subsequently Google, prefer faster loading websites. It can be deduced from this fact, along with the new “high response time” warnings, that the time it takes for your website to load will affect your ranking on search engine result pages, and consequently diminish your search traffic.
If your website can’t handle the amount of traffic Google will send to you and maybe even time out, then it doesn’t make sense for them to rank you highly – especially for competitive keywords.
Some steps you should take:
1) Add and verify your website at Webmaster Tools.
2) Keep an eye on your crawl rates and the message center.
3) Re-organize your website structure and/or get a new web host.