Unresponsive Domain Name Services result in slow sites that are disadvantaged in the SERPs relative to more speedy competitors

Site speed is one among many factors that Google takes into account when it is deciding how to rank sites.

There are two major speed related signals that Google can use to determine SERP position. The first is the responsiveness of the site as measured by its crawlers. If Googlebot is often left waiting, that’s an indication to Google that the site may not offer the best experience for its users, even if the information is relevant to the query.

Secondly, Internet users are impatient: they want their requests for data fulfilled immediately and aren’t prepared to wait more than a couple of seconds. Slow-loading sites cause visitors to bounce right back to the SERPs to click on the next blue link. Google records the bounce as a signal that the searcher wasn’t satisfied with the results and adjusts the ranking accordingly.

Maintaining the fastest possible site is a crucial aspect of the battle of the SERPs. While site owners and SEOs often implement caching and content distribution networks to decrease page load-times, they often neglect one factor that can add several seconds to a site visitor’s wait before the page even begins to load: the Domain Name System.

The Domain Name System is the Internet’s address book: it connects human readable web addresses with the machine readable IP addresses that computers on the Internet use to route requests. The slower that transaction, the longer the client browser has to wait before it can begin to download pages.

Domain name provision varies considerably between providers. Most web hosting companies offer DNS as part of their hosting packages, but the performance they provide is often slower than a dedicated managed DNS host can offer.

When it comes to speedy sites, most people recognize that a content distribution network is beneficial. Content distribution networks take a copy of a site and upload it to many different servers all over the world. When someone requests a page, they are directed to the nearest server so that their request doesn’t have to travel right across the country and back or even around the world.

IP Anycast DNS networks work on similar principles. Whereas many web hosts have their DNS servers in one location, an IP Anycast network distributes the servers around the world and routes client requests to the nearest. That means browsers don’t have to wait before they receive the address information they need to start downloading data. It can shave seconds off the length of a page’s download time and that is great for SEO.

You might not think that it would take very long for electronic signals to traverse the globe, but, in fact, they usually travel at significantly lower than the speed of light and may pass through many routers and switches on their journey, incurring a delay each time. Those delays can add up to multi-second waits for the user. Using an IP Anycast network drastically reduces the distance signals have to travel.

If you haven’t taken a serious look at the speed of your site’s domain name servers, you could be ignoring an opportunity for optimization that would give your site an edge over its competitors.

Also published on Medium.