Google considers a number of variables to rank websites’ search engine results. Up until recently they had not considered time. It’s become important for websites to have a fast Time to First Bite (TTFB). Essentially, TTFB is the time it takes for a computer to reach a website. A number of factors play in to this time. Websites can improve their TTFB with proper equipment, software, and location. These are the fundamental factors that can guarantee your website a short TTFB. A number of tools are out there that can enable you to measure your TTFB.
TTFB is this: So your computer needs to reach a website? Three things happen in terms of process. It must first send a signal to the server of the website (latency part 1). Once the server receives the signal (back-end processing), it must then process the information and then send its own signal back (latency part 2). TTFB is the amount of time it takes to do this, latency being the traveling time between machines.
Obviously distance is a huge factor here. If I am in Spain but need to connect to a server in California, things will be slower than if I were in Nevada. Reducing the distance between your content and your users is crucial. Investing in a Content Delivery Network (CDN), or even multiple CDNs, could ensure people are always within reasonable distance from your website. The back-end infrastructure performance is obviously crucial as well. Having a highly functional operating system and good computer hardware can ensure a speedy processing time.
A number of effective tools can measure your TTFB. Work on changing things here and there, see what really improves your time and what makes it slower. You can also isolate individual variables. Using tools you can find your ping, or your latency measurement. Subtract your latency from your overall TTFB and you’ve got your server processing time. A faster TTFB may not seem that important, but it truly reflects the website’s structural quality and is vital to its search engine ranking.