Before I start I’d like to clarify a few things. IMHO PageRank is completely dead and useless. For Gods sake, please stop using it as a metric. There’s far better, independent metrics you can use such as MozRank which logarithmically make more sense and if you have to buy links, use common sense and pick a link that’s going to send you traffic, it will probably cost you a lot more than $500 for 30000 links, but with Caffeine around the corner it will be worth it. Secondly this is all speculation based on (a lot of) reading about the ins and outs of whats been leaked on the Interwebs… so just be careful and as with all advice, take it with a pinch of salt.
So you want to ensure your sites longevity as a market leader after the Google Caffeine update? here’s the low-down on the popular beliefs behind maintaining your success. :
1. Page Load Speed
There’s lots of speculation that Google will rank faster serving pages higher (based on comments made by Matt Cutts who said something about users liking sites that load quicker). There’s a lot you can do on your site to improve the page load speed for Google Caffeine:
Change hosts to one with an impressive ping time – check webcop.co.uk for details.
Use Google Page Speed to discover images and scripts that are adding weight to your sites download time.
Host selected images (i.e. product thumbs) on a sub domain. your browser only streams 2 files at a time from each referring domain so you could split our heavy items such as images and selected scripts to a sub domain.
Use CSS Sprites. Loading in one large image instead of multiple smaller images will provide a significant improvement to your page load time.
Compress your code and scripts. Removing all of the white space, indentation and carriage returns in your code will trim your download time. Dint worry, you can always use something like Dreamweavers auto-format before you do your next edit.
Cache your content. For blogs there’s solutions like WP SuperCache which stores flat file versions of your site and reduced the number of database calls etc to speed up page delivery, for general web servers there’s a host of caching services available.
Compress output using Gzip – this reduces the amount of data being transmitted and thus, speeds up your page serving.
Personally I don’t believe that this will be a massive factor in Caffeine as it penalises site owners with limited budgets who may not be able to afford a dedicated server on pier1 or rackspace hosting etc… this doesn’t mean that their content is any less valid.
Ok that wraps it up for part one. Check back soon for the next installment on Social Media.