Google recently announced that site speed is now a consideration in page ranking. This, of course, makes sense. A faster load time for each page of your website makes for a better user experience, and users are more likely to trust and buy from a website that has faster load times. Think about this in the context of your own browsing experience. If a website takes longer than 10 seconds or more to load, chances are you’ve already hit your browser’s Back button and are looking at a completely different site. And Google rewards websites that have great user experiences. So it makes sense that site speed should be a factor in SEO.
Google admits that this new factor in page rank will only affect a small number of sites. But those site are the ones that are probably already in tight competition. For example, if you and a competitor are equally matched on the web (great use of keywords, equivalent site traffic, and incoming links), site speed could be the deciding factor. So make sure your site is getting SEO love by being faster than your competitors.
So now that you know your site should be speedy to have better SEO, what can you do about it? Here are a few suggestions.
1) Reduce redirects
Redirecting users from one page to the next slows down your load speed and can drag down your SEO. Instead of placing 301 redirects to update links, go the extra mile and simply update the links manually. It will increase your speed and SEO.
2) Reduce HTTP requests
The less a browser has to access your HTTP, the better. Make your site simple and easy to load.
3) Keep your CSS out of your HTML
When your CSS is housed outside your HTML, it can be cached, so each time a visitor comes to your site, their browser doesn’t have to load new scripts, styles, and more.
4) Optimize your images
One of the things that is really going to slow down your site speed is a lot of hi-res images. The higher resolution an image has, the longer it will take to load. As you are building your site, keep this in mind and don’t load images that are higher resolution than they need to be for a great user experience. Programs like Photoshop even have an option for saving in a web-optimized format. Use that option whenever possible and you’ll increase your SEO.
Increasing your site speed isn’t all that hard, it just takes some time to do things right. Who knows? Your efforts at search engine optimization through speed could help you nose out the competition when it comes to the finish line.
Brad Anderson is the Executive Director and Founder of Fruition. Brad’s focus is supporting Fruition’s team to enable sustainable growth and excellent client satisfaction (EBITDA growth). With a strong statistical background, Brad built Fruition’s in-house software that is used to manage client success.
President & Founder, Tru Family Dental
Marketing, Dependable Cleaners
President & Founder, Family Travel Association