The last week of July was a very painful week for this website. Our previous hosting company was having a world of difficulty through an ongoing Denial of Service attack and, combined with a particularly alarming security breach, it was time to leave. Despite lengthy periods of outage and a slow ftp connection, I managed to migrate the site to a new host and get the DNS sorted by the 30th July 2010.
I thought I’d share some interesting data which should encourage us all to rethink our hosting from time to time.
Average time taken to load SEOgadget.co.uk in seconds (monthly)
Time spent downloading a page – note the outage
Webmaster tools performance overview
Search engine visibility – Advanced Web Ranking
We monitor SEOgadget’s top 200 industry and traffic driving search terms on a daily basis. This chart shows the search engine rankings expressed as a percentage, which works a little like this (assuming one keyword):
Position 1 = 30/30 (100% Visibility)
Position 2 = 29/30 (96.6% Visibility)
Believe me when I say our old IP was hosting some bad websites (not the hosting company, I might add – they were just reselling). A bad neighbourhood would be putting it mildly. At the same time that server performance has increased, we’ve also moved to a dedicated IP address. That’s an important point to remember.
Does a significant improvement in page load in some way explain the improvement in search engine visibility?
Assuming all other factors remained the same (no significant link acquisition, no major algorithmic factors, etc), you could say that the improvement in site performance and / or IP change correlates to an improvement in the rankings. Was it the IP address, the performance, or both? Correlation is not causation, and I fully understand that. It’s just these charts show super compelling evidence to justify a proper study, in my opinion.
I can’t even begin to imagine the amount of data and analysis you’d need to prove / disprove a causative relationship between page load time and rankings. I wish someboady with a lot of time and interest the very best of luck.