Page speed is a consideration in how well your page will rank in Google and other search engines. The nice folks at Google have said over and over that page speed does make a difference in how well pages rank. They also said that fast sites that decrease their page loading speeds won’t get a boost but that slower sites might get penalized.
Here are some commonly overlooked ways to improve your page’s loading speed.
Optimize Your Images
I’ve worked on a few websites where users upload images that come straight off a digital camera. These images can be 5 Megabytes in size or MORE, depending on the camera. Think of how slow this will be on a mobile phone. <yawn> People will leave the page before your image downloads.
There are two ways to optimize images: reduce the image dimensions and reduce the file size. Using an image that’s 2000+ pixels across in a space that can only show an image 200 pixels wide is unnecessary. Reduce images to the size you need, when possible.
Reducing the file size of an image can be done through online services like Tinypng.com (my favourite), or through plugins like Smush or Imagify. These services reduce the file size of an image using special algorithms that eliminate data while retaining image quality. You often can’t see a difference between an optimized and unoptimized image.
Use a CDN or Page Caching Plugin (or BOTH!)
CDN stands for Content Delivery Network. These services will keep a cached copy of your website on their servers and deliver it to your site’s visitors. Because a CDN has servers located all around the world, having your site cached on their network is supposed to make your site geographically closer to your visitors.
Speed’s Good for Humans Too
If you’re thinking the main benefit of having a fast-loading website is for search engines, you’re not seeing the big picture. People like sites that load quickly as well and they tend to be impatient creatures. If your site’s taking too long to show up, visitors will leave. This increases your bounce rate and decreases the time spent on your page. These metrics are also measured by search engines and can affect your site’s ranking.
In short, faster sites are better for search engine bots and human visitors. If you need some help speeding up your site, please feel free to get in touch with us!
Thank you for reading today’s SEO tip. Let us know your thoughts in the comments below! Stay tuned for tomorrow’s SEO nugget 🙂