There are many search engine optimization (SEO) techniques that bloggers and website owners could apply to be able to improve page ranking and make websites known to a wider audience. One of the things you must not overlook when doing SEO is ensuring that your web site has decent site speed. Why is site speed important and what can you do to improve yours?
Poor Load Time Affects Readability
Google includes site speed as one of the so-called “signals” in its page ranking algorithms, although it “doesn’t carry as much weight as the relevance of a page.” According to the Google Webmaster Central Blog, there’s currently less than 1% of search queries that are affected by the site speed signal.
Relevance is what drives online users, upon landing on your page, to want to know more about what your website offers, to navigate deeper into your website pages. However, if it takes too much time to load your site, then all the hard work you put in producing relevant content would be wasted.
Negative Impact for Your Website Ranking
According to an article from Moz.com, poor site speed could negatively hurt your page ranking if your pages take a dreadful amount of time to load. It’s something that could hit you if for instance, your relevancy scores and link metrics are pretty close to that of your competitors’.
Enhanced User Experience
It’s true that the negative effect of slow site speed to your page ranking is minimal and presents no serious cause of alarm, but you might be missing out on chances of further improving your rank if you don’t optimise the speed of your site.
Google, as we know, aims to provide the best experience to online users by constantly fine-tuning its search engine results pages—awarding higher ranking to reputable sites and “punishing” those that try to spam online users. Focus on improving your on-site processes, as much as you implement off-site SEO techniques, and you can bet that Google, and your readers, will surely love you.
Improving Site Speed
Smaller websites usually are easier to optimise for site speed. There are many tools you can use for improving site speed, many of them, Google itself provided. To optimise the loading time and response rates of your pages, you may also try the following basic fixes:
- The problem with your site could be not the site speed itself, but your Internet accessibility. Make sure you have fast internet connection and if that still doesn’t improve the speed by which your pages load, then you need to make some on-site adjustments.
- Combine all of your CSS into an external file and link to it from the <head> section of each page rather than loading it in the HTML of a page.
- Make sure your images are optimised for the web.
- Reduce HTTP Requests so the pages will load faster. Do this by reducing the number of items needed to be loaded for each page such as images, scripts, and style sheets.
- Combines images used in the background into one image, by using CSS sprites.
- Server side caching should be used since it creates an HTML page for a URL.
- Use Gzip to compress the size of the page sent to the browser. It can also reduce the file size by up to 70%.
- Use a content delivery network (CDN) system so that users can download information from your site faster. Use services like Amazon CloudFront, which is an affordable type of CDN.
- 301 Redirects force the browser to a new URL. This requires the browser to wait for the HTTP request, slowind down your site. Lessen its use or don’t use it if possible.
- Use webmaster tools for tweaking your site speed such as YSLOW and the HTML suggestions in Google Webmaster Tools.
Several SEO methods such as link-building and content marketing are still considered by many as the most essential when optimising for search engines. If you think it’s especially needed, however, pay special attention to improving your site speed as it can contribute to a generally positive user experience for your website visitors. Overall functionality and the readability of your website will create happier visitors and will attract more guests in the future.
This article is contributed by Israel from CompareHero, the leading online portal for financial comparison in Malaysia.