Site Speed Plays a Key Role in SEO
Slow-loading websites are the bane of modern-day life, creating frustration for the user and potentially fewer people making searches, which is bad news for search engines. It is for this reason that site speed has become a vital element in search engine optimisation (SEO) and in improving your search rankings.
Digital marketers may not consider site speed to be in their domain, leaving it to those in the IT department, however the new emphasis that search engines have put on site speed should mean that it becomes part of the marketing strategy also. Small changes can make a noticeable difference, such as having your graphic designer save images in a different format or reducing your content in a few key places.
Google has a tool that will check your current page load time – the PageSpeed Insights tool – which will grade your site, giving you a starting point. With your score in place, you can start to make changes to improve upon it – we list here five elements of any website that, once improved, will greatly influence the score…
- Poorly optimised images are one of the main culprits when it comes to a slow page speed. Having all images should be formatted to ‘save for the web’, with the image itself re-sized to closely match the size that it will appear on the site. It will only waste valuable loading time to upload a 1800x1800px image when the website will show it as 400x400px.
- Streamlining your CSS code can affect your page speed, so as a general rule, try to write as little CSS as possible and avoid repeating yourself. Inline critical CSS in theHTML element, and do not use more than one CSS stylesheet as processing multiple stylesheets greatly increases the loading time.
- Use static content wherever possible within your pages – meaning that the raw HTML resides within the file that is being uploaded. The advantage of static content over dynamic content is that when the browser loads the page, the static content is already there waiting to be rendered on the page, whereas dynamic content has to be pulled from a database which will cause a slight delay in loading time.
- Cookieless domains can improve the page loading speed because a browser can connect to more than one at a time. To make use of this system, load your static resources from multiple cookieless domains, which will allow multiple resources to download simultaneously.
Having made the changes according to the recommendations, return to Google’s PageSpeed Insights Tool to see how your speed grade has increased!