In the world of an SEO Analyst, there are so many ranking signals and factors that play into a websites ranking in the search results. It can be overwhelming to manage and improve across the board and it is a process. However in the end if you want to rank on the first page of google search, the work is well worth it. This month I decided to take a step back, and think about the basics. Here’s how to improve website page speed and load time.
What is it that google wants us to give our users? A great overall experience. How do we give them a great experience? To answer this question I think of the things that I like to see happen when I visit a website, and more importantly what I don’t like to see. By eliminating what users don’t like, and ensuring likable features are present, you’ll be off to a good start.
A fundamental when it comes to user experience is Page Speed and Load Time. While optimizing and improving here may not deliver a huge boost in your rankings, it has the potential to with other positive ranking signals already in place. Rank Fishkin at Moz referred to it as something that will at least protect you in his whiteboard Friday about how to combat 5 of the most infuriating problems SEO’s encounter.
The point is that it’s worth improving your page speed as an additional effort to improve user experience. This translates to a happy user, and therefore google and other search engines being happy too, and that’s good for your website.
The first step to boost page speed and load time is to gauge your websites current status. There are some tools that will help us throughout the process.
How to Test Website Page Speed and Load Time
Page Speed Tools
When google puts a tool out there I try to use it. It’s a great way to gather insight directly from the source, and let google tell you exactly what they would like to see improve.
To use PageSpeed Insights type in your URL:
and then view your rating (out of 100), things you should fix, and things you should consider fixing for both mobile and desktop.
They also have a user experience score for mobile that offers recommendations, and they link you to the Mobile-Friendly Test that is critical to check out for your website due to the recent “Mobilegeddon” algorithm update.
Is your website mobile-friendly? If not, you may want to consider making it responsive, and/or mobile, so that you don’t get penalized in the search rankings.
This tool offers the same type of insight google does, but provides additional ways give your page speed a boost and even ratings for each category or factor.
To use this tool you start the same way as with insights, enter your websites URL:
Then you can look at your page speed grade, and current ratings for each factor that has influence on that score. You will also see load time, the total page size, and total requests made.
The best part about this tool is that if you are not familiar with something, it gives a link specific to each category that will help guide you through the process
Info coming soon!
6 Ways to Improve Page Speed and Load Time
- Leverage Browser Caching-You can set expires headers in IIS or .htaccess
- Enable Compression-Compress your website and improve speed through Gzip in IIS or .htaccess
- Minifying-Google has to scan lines of code, it is easier for google without comments, line breaks, etc.
- Specify Accept: Vary-Encoding-IIS/web.config or .htaccess
- Optimizing Images-gtmetrix can guide you, and https://compressor.io/ is a great tool as well.
- Render Blocking JS & CSS Above the Fold-Adding a defer or async tag to your scrips can be helpful! But be careful, it can cause items to not load properly, always test before and after and add the tags one at a time.
- More coming soon!
If you’ve found yourself wondering, how do I make my website faster?, how do I optimize images without affecting quality? or how can I make my website rank higher on google? This is one of many things webFEAT complete does to optimize your website for SEO purposes. If you’d like a quote, fill out one of our forms or give us a call! Our main website is www.webfeatcomplete.com and you can reach us at (513) 272-3432.
Also published on Medium.