Google released a Page Speed Service, which might help marketers boost their SEO. However, the service seems to slow down page load times for

Google has announced a new Page Speed Service that it claims will automatically decrease page load times. This should be of interest to marketers as site speed is an SEO ranking signal – assuming, of course, that the service actually makes sites faster.

Google explains that its Page Speed Service “fetches content from your servers, rewrites your pages by applying web performance best practices and serves them to end users via Google’s servers across the globe.” The service is being offered to a limited number of webmasters, and pricing information will be released later.

The company acknowledges that the extent of page speed increase will depend on a variety of factors, including the content on your pages. Brafton tested the Page Speed Service and we were disappointed to learn that it actually slowed down our site with respect to page load time (down 5.4 percent) and repeat view page load time (down 6.9 percent). You can click this image to enlarge it and see the results for yourself:

Of course, we devote a lot of time to optimizing our content for search-friendliness, and other sites may see more favorable results. Google claims some sites have seen up to 60 percent speed improvements.

Whether marketers choose to use this tool or not, it should serve as a reminder that Google considers page speed an SEO factor. The Page Speed Service is a follow up to the company’s earlier Page Speed Online tool, designed to help marketers learn ways they can manually increase site speed. Plus, as Brafton has reported, Google’s Matt Cutts cited page speed as an SEO priority for 2011.

Katherine Griwert is Brafton's Marketing Director. She's practiced content marketing, SEO and social marketing for over five years, and her enthusiasm for new media has even deeper roots. Katherine holds a degree in American Studies from Boston College, and her writing is featured in a number of web publications.