12 Killer Ways to Speed Up Your Website & Improve SEO
In today’s competitive digital landscapes, large-scale brands and enterprises need to leverage every second of their ongoing marketing strategy. Consumers also want to access relevant information and answers to their queries almost instantaneously.
That said, Google points out that even a second delay negatively impacts your overall mobile conversions by as much as 20%. Since Google began considering mobile page speed as a ranking factor, digital brands are continuously leveraging mobile traffic to rank in SERPs and user conversion.
Along those lines, here are 12 ways to speed up your website to improve your SEO in 2021.
Page Speed and Insights
Before you tweak anything on your website, it’s crucial to determine and isolate any weak spots. With that, testing your site through Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool should be ideal as a first step.
You can also get real-time and relevant insights from PageSpeed Insights and the Chrome User Experience Report (CrUX) within the tool’s Speed tab. From the CrUX report, you can get actionable insights that you can use further to optimise your website for fast and seamless UX.
While PageSpeed insights now incorporate Lighthouse as a parameter other than CrUX, it still holds similar optimisation score rules that Google uses as ranking factors. It’s safe to say that page speed doesn’t closely correlate with page ranking in SERPs. However, Google’s quest to provide accurate information on the fly puts page speed on top of technical optimisation as a priority.
Basic Speed Statistics You Should Know
Here are some relevant facts and figures to supercharge your page speed in 2021:
- A mobile site loads 87.8% longer than its desktop version
- Roughly 50% of mobile users expect a page to load faster than 2 seconds
- About 40% of users won’t engage with a site that loads images too long
- Users with a negative mobile experience are 62% less likely to return and buy on your site
- 70% of websites that rank in Google SERPs already shifted to mobile devices
Read on here for more SEO statistics and facts.
What is PageSpeed Optimisation Score?
When running your site in PageSpeed, getting a score over 80 points implies a fast and well-optimised website. But if you’re getting a much lower result, it’s wise to take a few steps and improve your overall PageSpeed optimisation score.
Besides, optimising your site for speed improves its chances of ranking as this technical factor indirectly influences rankings. In general, PageSpeed Insights is a reliable tool for speed because it analyses your site’s health and gives you a few key areas to improve.
Optimisation for PageSpeed Insights
Since page speed is among Google’s crucial ranking factors, its core ranking algorithm counts site speed as one of the signals to rank websites in search results. That said, you need to consider the time it takes to load the first byte, including other factors, to maximise Google’s crawl budget and positively impact your SEO strategy.
In other words, a slow page will:
- Yield fewer crawled pages
- Negatively affect UX, thereby increasing bounce rates
- Be detrimental for your site indexing
Along those lines, here are a few speed optimisation factors to keep an eye on.
Speed Optimisation Factors You Should Focus On
Time To First Byte (TTFB)
One way for Google to measure site speed is by how long a browser receives your website’s first byte of data or information straight from your dedicated server. The search community refers to this metric as the time to first byte.
In Google PageSpeed, the tool measures data from CrUX relevant to TTFB, such as DOM Content Loaded (DCL) and First Content Paint (FCP).
More often than not, most webmasters would kick off into optimising on-page elements such as java scripts and web design elements. But only a few brands look outside the box and find out the real issue — their web hosting service provider.
Your web host provider is crucial in determining how fast your website loads. That said, relying on a poor hosting service will be detrimental for your brand and may cost you significant amounts of loss in revenue, aside from negative search rankings.
When using WordPress as your CMS, you might notice that you can toggle plugins on or off to activate and deactivate them respectively. This feature is useful for users who want to keep their plugins dormant before ultimately deciding to use them in the future.
Keeping unwanted plugins dormant and unused will add up to your website’s dead weight. That said, the best way to prevent unnecessary plugins from slowing your website down is to remove them completely.
To start, here are a few pointers to remember when it comes to site plugins:
- Make sure to install essential and necessary plugins only.
- Delete leftover files and minified CSS/JS after deleting a website plugin
- If you have an inactive plugin for over a couple months, think about deleting it from your site.
- Only keep updated and compatible plugins in your site.
Keep Your Website Code Clean
When it comes to optimising page speed, your website’s technical backend is just as vital as its frontend. Writing clean code and optimising existing HTML code is a job for web design and SEO experts. That means organising your website code ensures that all processes and navigation are smooth and seamless.
Some aspects to consider when developing your website code are:
- Dynamic caching
- Keeping a child theme file than tampering the parent theme files
- Minifying CSS and JS files
Utilising Content Distribution Networks (CDNs)
Large-scale brands and enterprises should understand the influence of geographic proximity in site loading speed. With that, content distribution networks or content delivery networks shortens the time to completely load your page content, regardless of a user’s distance from a web server.
When you want to rank on a broader scale, your users’ distance from your web server has an opposite correlation as to how fast they’ll access your content. To combat that limitation, CDNs host your site through the cloud while letting your local servers accommodate your nearest clients.
That way, you can ensure that users from all over the world can access and navigate through your site as fast as possible. Besides that, content distribution networks use caching to trim out some hosting bandwidth and deliver seamless content.
Killer Strategies to Increase Page Speed
At this point, you should have a good idea about the impacts of page speed for user experience and search ranking. But sometimes, you could use a few insights from industry experts to ensure effective and efficient delivery.
To crank up your site speed, here are some tips you can follow:
If you skipped the section where we discussed maintaining a clean code, we’d reiterate that keeping unwanted data in your technical backend increases a site’s dead weight. These include code comments, redundant metadata, or repetitive CSS styles and designs. By eliminating this information and cleaning out your code, you can decrease your site’s loading time while improving its performance.
By compressing visual elements such as videos and images, you can shorten your page load time and significantly speed up page rendering time.
Optimise Cascading Style Sheets Delivery
If you have minuscule CSS resources, consider plugging them into the HTML rather than having several CSS files in one page. That’s because a browser will only render a page as soon as it finishes processing all CSS resources. Hence, if you want to save a few milliseconds from the load time, using HTML for some visual elements can be useful.
Monitor Server Response Time
Utilise Browser Caching
If you want to maximise user conversion, you may want your users to come back to your site. If so, you don’t want them to load the same information every time they visit your site. That’s where browser caching comes into play.
Google has a comprehensive post for webmasters that gives insight into leveraging browser caching that our SEO specialists highly recommend.
The search landscape will become much more volatile and competitive in 2021 with Google’s mobile-first and mobile page speed update. With that, keeping up with the latest trends and pro-tips should help you kickstart your brand’s SEO and content marketing strategy.
Besides, our comprehensive guide should be beneficial for large-scale brands and digital enterprises in keeping up with Sydney’s unpredictable search landscape.