Page load is an ranking factor from Google that is getting more and more important and it is key that your business improves it for better search rankings. Faster page load websites rank better in Google search results as well as improving users’ experience
Where is SEO applicable?
Before we get into the detail, let’s take a brief step back and set the parameters of SEO as we know it. SEO “is the process of getting traffic from the “free,” “organic,” “editorial” or “natural” search results on search engines”.
But what does this mean for businesses?
It is about making a website Google (or any other leading search engine) friendly through specific modifications that make your website both easy for search engines to index and to provide a better end user experience.
The higher your website ranks, the more visits it gains. So make sure you’re doing everything you can to get your website ranking higher!
Every search engine – Google, Yahoo, Bing, Baidu – determines which webpages are useful and relevant to the users by using a huge amount of complex algorithms. In this way, they determine which pages will rank in first position on the result pages for every query that is made by the user. For businesses the objective is simple – the higher a page ranks, the more people see it, the more credibility the website/ business gets and the more visits it gains. This should be the goal of every search strategy.
This practice of improving online visibility and to reach the top of the search engine results for specific keywords to increase business opportunities is the crux of modern SEO.
There are many SEO modifications that can be made to a website from a structural perspective by optimizing elements such as Meta tags, headers, images, content and URLs. The number of social signals, links from other websites, traffic signals, time spent on the website also has an impact on the ranking factor of your website.
So why the focus on page load speed?
You don’t want to miss out on what page load speed can bring! On page technology is becoming a very important ranking factor for search engines. Google wants to be as efficient as possible and site speed is one of the ranking factors that will determine rankings.
On average, the top ranking pages load faster than the rest, so it is important to increase the page load speed on your website, for both search engines and to ensure users will enjoy a faster service and better experience.
To help you, here are 5 SEO tips that will make your website run faster:
1. Optimize your images
This is one of the most important steps for improving site speed. Images often are the most byte-consuming element of a page and browsers will struggle to download pages with lots of high resolution images.
Compressing the size of your image to reduce the number of bytes the browser has to download will improve the speed. Also, remove any unnecessary data such as picture size, where has the picture been taken, camera information, etc.
Visual quality will or should not be significantly damaged if you find the optimal format and optimization strategy.
As a general rule, the more videos and imagery a page has, the slower it is going to load. But don’t take this too far; Google has confirmed many times that helpful and attractive content that uses video or image to help users understand the content will have better rankings.
It is about finding the right balance of content and visual queues.
2. Avoid Landing Page redirects
Landing page redirects make your webpages load slower and your visitors are shown nothing while the redirect is happening. Sometimes you will need to use redirects, but there is best practice guidance to follow.
For example, you should only have a maximum of one redirect. Don’t create a long path of URLs and just redirect one URL to another URL in one step. GT Metrix provides details on how to avoid redirects.
3. Avoid Plugins
Having too many plugins that perform complex operations in the visitors’ browsers make your site slower as browsers will have to load more code.
It is important to avoid plugins, but more than that – you should avoid the complexity of the plugin and choose the fastest set possible for the features you want to add. Native web technologies are now offering alternatives to process this content that once required plugins. Little by little the way plugins work is changing and according to 5Firefox plugins will no longer be activated by default. How plugins are being used for websites is being changed so that end users enjoy a better experience, so if your website is a heavy user, be mindful that things are set to change..
4. Use appropriate font sizes
Some websites contain fonts that are too small to be legible or use many fonts of different sizes that results in messy and complex pages that load slowly. More tips to improve Google web font performance can be read by following the link below. With the increase of mobile devices being used as the main device to surf the Internet, the problem of poor page load speed is set to get more common if nothing is done about it now..
Many well-known organisations still haven’t optimized their websites for mobile use, using fonts that don’t have legible sizes and providing a poor user experience.
Remember Google wants mobile friendly websites and recently updated its algorithm to make mobile friendly websites rank higher. Don’t miss your opportunity!
5. Minimize HTML
Unnecessary data such as html comments, whitespaces, empty elements, unused code, etc increases your page size and hence increases delays. These surplus elements that affect the site load speed can be easily avoided.
Compress codes with Autoptimize and use a very straightforward tool from Will Peavy called the ‘minifier’ to Minify HTML in just one step.
You need to understand what you are missing from a speed perspective and find key elements that are preventing site speed optimization. For example:
- Do you know what key speed element is causing website under-performance?
- Do you know what you should be doing to improve your website page load speed?
- Do you know how your website is performing on desktops and on mobile devices from a speed perspective?
Once you have identified the issues, you can consider the actions you need to take in order to optimize your website page speed performance.
You can learn more with Google Developers Online Speed Tool that provides a good insight into how your website is performing from a site speed perspective. It offers both speed insights in desktop and mobile and offers suggestions for improving your website. It is a very valuable tool because Google uses a similar speed analysis as a ranking factor. But be quick! Google and your website visitors definitely don’t want to wait for your site to load.