Can Slow Site Speed Cause Drop in Google Search?

That’s what I’m wondering right now. I went to check out the site speed on my Mom Venture blog and found that it was taking over 15 seconds to load!! Now that’s unacceptable.

So I’m thinking, “what in the world?” I have had issues with that site being slow before, but finally had it at about 3-4 second load time just a few months ago. What changes did I make to cause it to be slow again?

Now in case you don’t recall… this is the site I’ve been having issues with since July 25th when a recipe that was bringing in tons of traffic, suddenly dropped in the search results and along with it…the traffic! So now I’m wondering, was it maybe the site speed that caused that drop?

What did I do before that, that could have slowed up the site that much?

Well….I believe that was around the time I changed the theme back to Atahualpa theme. I had that site using Atahualpa from the beginning, but now I am remembering that the reason I changed to the Greenpark 2 theme, was to see if it would help the site speed. Which, as I recall, it did. Well shortly before July 25th, I changed back to Atahualpa because I just like the looks of it better and the way I had it set up before switching. I totally forgot about why I had tried changing to Greenpark 2 in the first place, so I didn’t think to check the site speed again!

Sigh….

Well, I did end up getting the site speed back down to around 5 seconds today, which is still a bit slow for my taste, but way better than 15!

Here’s what I did:

  • Got rid of WP3 Cache which is supposed to help site speed, but it has slowed down every site I’ve tried it on! This was what made the most difference in site speed
  • Already had 2 plugins installed to put css and javascript in footer
  • Got rid of all the plugins I was not using
  • Made css and javascript in Atahualpa theme inline instead of external

So that’s basically all I did to improve the speed so much. I can not believe that WP3 Cache would slow a site up so much when it’s supposed to increase site speed, but obviously not! I hope to see better results in the search rankings in a few days or so. I know Google does take site load time into account and I’m pretty positive that this is what actually hurt me this time.

Have you had site speed affect your search rankings?

~Melissa

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