Improving Website Page Speed for Higher Rankings

Google says that your website loading speed can have an impact on your rankings.

I agree.

Google takes into account many factors while ranking websites, but site speed plays a crucial role in its algorithm.

I personally feel that no matter how powerful or engaging your content is, how well you use header tags or links in your content – unless your site loads fast, your visitors aren’t going to convert (convert can mean whatever you want it to, e.g. read your article, buy your product, etc).

In this post, I have shared some of my best tips on increasing your website page speed.

 

Why Does Site Speed Matter?

In a study conducted on travel website users, there was an interesting statistic – that only 57% of the users would be willing be wait for 3 seconds or less, before leaving a website.

According to Google, faster websites are favoured in SERP’s and for attracting more organic traffic from the search giant.

Fast loading websites provide better user engagement, higher search engine rankings and a superior (happy) user experience. On the other hand, websites that take longer to load may lose their visitors (customers!).

 
Here’s a (simplified) formula:

Slow site = higher bounce rate = lower ranking = less customers 🙁

Now lets reverse it:

Fast site = lower bounce rate = higher ranking = more customers 😀

 

Top Tips to Improve The Speed of Your Website

 

Choose a Reliable Web Host

Speed is crucial when picking a web host – but, security, uptime, and support also need to be taken into consideration. With so many web hosting providers available in the market, it might take some hefty research!

If you’re stuck, or just want a recommendation – I recommend BlueHost. It’s a good mixture of both value and performance.

 

Reduce Your Image Sizes

High quality images are essential for every website, but big images can drastically slow down your website. It’s a good idea to optimise your images so that their file sizes are reduced considerably. Image size will vary wildly from site to site and depends on factors such as your theme and dimensions of the image.

However, it’s important to note that the image quality must not be sacrificed whilst focusing on optimising the image size.

WP Smush (free) can do most of this for you if you’re on WordPress.

 

Use a Content Delivery Network

Content delivery networks help in storing your sites static files across servers placed strategically around the world – this way the files are served to the visitor depending on their location (from the fastest server and closest to them geographically).

These networks of servers help in reducing the load of distributing content.

I recommend CloudFlare. It’s free (has paid upgrades as well if you want them).

 

Avoid Unnecessary Server Redirects

Redirections can have an adverse impact on the site and page speed, especially HTTP 300’s, 400’s and 500’s – each HTTP request increases the page load time slightly. In cases where the redirects are necessary, it’s important to use rewrite rules correctly via your .htaccess file. Wherever possible, it’s best to fix HTTP errors.

 

Leverage Browser Caching

Browsers generally cache plenty of information including stylesheets, Javascript files, images and much more – so that when visitors come back to your site, their browser does not have to reload the complete page every time.

Many of your website visitors will come in for the first time and with an empty cache. At the same time, caching needs to be enabled & optimised to ensure faster loading times for repeat visitors.

WP Fastest Cache (free) is good for this.

 

>>Compress Stuff<<

Creating high quality content usually results in large pages and thus slow download times.

Bandwidth of pages can be reduced with compression modalities such as Gzip – which is a software that can be used to reduce the size of your HTML, CSS and Javascript files.

Smaller files = less to download = more speed

I also recommend WP Fastest Cache (free) for implementing this as well.

 

Boost Server Response Time

The server response time depends on factors such as amount of traffic on your website, resources used by the page, type of server software, and also the host you chose. It’s crucial to improve the server response time where possible.

You should talk to your host if you want to boost this.

 

Analyse with Tools

It may be possible that despite following my advice above, your site is still only partially optimised. In which case I suggest using GTmetrix for more ideas.

GTmetrix will analyse your site and provide an insight on how well the website loads and provide recommendations for optimising its performance further.

 

Conclusion

It’s time to take action to boost your webpage speed. Your competitors are doing it.

You will always be able to reap benefits from improving your site speed – such as higher search rankings, increased traffic, improved user experience and higher sales levels.

14 thoughts on “Improving Website Page Speed for Higher Rankings”

  1. Thanks Quinn. I never thought about how the speed would effect a websites traffic but it makes sense. I fall into the category of clicking away from a site if it doesn’t load quickly. I have just recently started my blog ( using bluehost also) and realized that I have a huge photo on the about page. I will use WP smush to compress it. Is compression different than optimization?

    Reply
    • Thanks Neill, good question.

      Compression is part of the optimisation process – there are also other variables, such as image dimensions to consider. E.g. If your image is 2000 by 2000 pixels but you are only using it at 400 by 400 pixels in your HTML then you need to resize your dimensions, too otherwise you are loading a massive image and only using a small version of it.

      Again, a good question and good distinction to make – I will update the article with this soon.

      Reply

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