Step 2 – Improving Speed

What affect does page speed have on google?

SEO and page speed go hand in hand, as Google has indicated that site speed is a ranking factor for SERPs. If your site has been built well many of these page speed issues will not exist. Some issues can exist with your hosting provider which can only be fixed through paying for a more suitable package, some are fixed through quick easy fixes others are a little more complicated and require some web development experience/knowledge. A slow page speed means that search engines can crawl fewer pages increasing the time it takes google to find and index your pages. Page speed also has a massive impact on user experience. If someone lands on your website and it takes a while to load they’re likely to click straight off, which increases your bounce rate, which in turn negatively affects your SEO. In this blog post we’re not going to be covering Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) as this will require a blog post of it’s own however if you are getting your website designed now I would recommend asking your developer to create an AMP format for your website. If you have any issues or troubles or feel that I haven’t gone into enough depth about an issue please let me know in the comments. If you’re really scratching your head at implementing the page speed changes then either leave it until you can get a professional web developer and skip to the next step.

The first thing you need to do is go to https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/

Google Developer Speed Test

Once you type in your website and click analyse you’ll have a list of options and errors that you need to fix below is how you fix each individual issue:

GZIP Compression

GZIP Compression will help reduce the size CSS, HTML and Javascript files, by compressing them into a smaller file, improving your site speed. If you are using WordPress simply download a GZIP Compression plugin a favourite of mine is W3 Total Cache. You can follow this guide to find out how to implement the plugin through WordPress, follow this guide to implement GZIP manually.

Minify CSS, JavaScript, and HTML

HTML, Javascript and CSS are what most modern websites are mainly made up of. HTML is the standard markup language for creating a web page, CSS is the code used for styling a website, and Javascript is how everything functions. Now if your site has been created well then you may not need to do anything, but if not you have two options manually get rid of an unnecessary code (which would require a web developer) or use a plugin such as BWP minify which will do it automatically.

Reduce redirects

Redirects make your page load a lot slower, remove any of them where they are unnecessary, for example remove any issues where you site redirects to a third or fourth webpage, but if you have certain pages where redirects are necessary you don’t really have any option but to remove them. The key here is to remove anything unnecessary.

Leverage browser caching

Browsers cache a lot of information (stylesheets, images, JavaScript files, and more) so that when a visitor comes back to your site, the browser doesn’t have to reload the entire page. The W3 Total Cache plugin from earlier will be able to cover this issue, use this guide to find out how to implement leverage browser caching both manually and automatically via a plugin.

Improve server response time

The server response time is the amount of time it takes a server to process a request. Google states that the optimal server response time is under 200ms. There are two ways to fix this either simply pay more money for more expensive web hosting, or by limiting the amount of resources your pages use. Many themes and designs use multiple files for Javascript and CSS when all of them could be combined into fewer files. In order to do this you’ll need some web development experience, follow this guide to for more information.

Optimize images

With regards to optimising images there are three main things you’ll need to do, firstly make sure images are never bigger than they need to be, that you’re using an appropriate file format for an appropriate image, and that they’ve been compressed. You can automatically compress all your images on WordPress with a plugin called Way2Enjoy Image Optimiser, if you’re not using WordPress, you can use a website such as http://optimizilla.com/, and then reupload them.

Thanks for reading, this is the basic overview of how to resolve any site speed issues, this is only intended to be a quick guide, if any of this information seems hard to comprehend then you’ll need to learn a lot more about development or get someone to fix these issues.

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5 comments

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