'Slow coach' UK websites lag behind US

Top UK brands could pay the price for slow loading websites, following Google's new search ranking rules, according to new research.

The survey, carried out by web optimization software firm, Aptimize, shows the average speeds of the UK's FTSE companies' homepage loading is 27% slower than their US counterparts in the Fortune 1000. This is despite the US sites having much richer, more varied, content.

The study found Tesco and WH Smith were among fastest websites tested, while HMV and Eddie Stobart were among the slowest. New ranking rules, introduced last month by Google, means slower sites will be less prominent in user searches, disadvantaging their owners' brands.

Slow web pages result in increased customer dissatisfaction, higher support costs as issues are moved to more expensive telephone service options and for ecommerce sites, direct loss of revenue, the report from Aptimize stated.

However following the Google changes, sites which load slowly will now also result in a direct loss of competitive ranking.

Commenting on the results of the survey Ed Robinson, CEO of Aptimize, said: "We were surprised to see a country which gave birth to the pioneer of the Web, falling behind relative to its US counterparts. What was once an allowable weakness though, now threatens the competitiveness of many leading UK businesses.

"The situation is remediable and Aptimize has made significant improvements in load times for UK customers including RM Education and PZ Cussons, as well as for Search Engine giants Microsoft and Google themselves."

Aptimize technology optimizes Web code, using a variety of techniques, to produce much-improved Web loading speeds and so improving Google ranking for it customers.

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