Page Load Speed | How to Make Your Website Faster to Rank Higher
By Tammy Wood
A slow site is a poor experience for users. As a result, search engines tend to rank slower sites worse than faster sites. The site must load quickly and aim for 100% uptime. Until recently, Google would only offer suggestions on steps to take to improve page load speed using the Google PageSpeed Insights tool.
Some of Google’s suggestions to improve page load used to include:
Select a Reputable Hosting Provider: It is imperative for a business or organization to do their due diligence when choosing a provider asking specific questions as it pertains to page load speed is a priority.
Images that are Too Large (Heavy): Images which are too heavy to load can really lower your page speed, typically from a lack of compression. Google may prefer PNG for images that do not require high details like logos and JPEG for photos.
Too many/intrusive ads: Google has been penalizing websites that use excessive Ads and or interstitial ads ( pop ups, pop unders, etc), not only do these slow down your site, they also could get your site lowered in rankings.
Your theme or template: some highly designed themes on different CMS platforms, can contain a lot of effects can slow down every page in your site rendering it less user friendly.
In the summer of 2017 Google took the difficulty out of waiting for your internal development department to implement these optimizations.
The results list out the best practices to increase the page load speed (Defined by Google):
- Leverage browser caching
- Optimize images
- Prioritize visible content
- Enable compression
- Minify HTML
- Minify CSS
Following these general web performance best practices will help improve the site speed.
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Server Side Compression
Smaller files are faster to download than larger files but it’s difficult to individually compress every file on the site. There are a few commonly used files are found throughout the site that are slowing down the page load because they are uncompressed.
Apache: Use mod_deflate
Repeatedly downloading the same file wastes bandwidth. Browsers can cache local copies of certain files and avoid requesting the web server for the same file. Save bandwidth by enabling browser caching on the web server.
** Apache:** This is an example using Apache’s latest mod_expires for caching specific file types.
Please note that the expiration times need to be customized to the site’s needs.
Lossless Image Compression
Images often make up the biggest portion of a page’s size. Applying lossless image compression shrinks the file size, keeps the same image quality, and speeds up page loads. Multiple images could be losslessly compressed across the site.
One thing to note: MKG finds it to be labor intensive and should be prioritized against other engineering needs. Lossless image compression reduces the file size without affecting image quality and results in faster page loads, especially for mobile devices. FileOptimizer is a great all around image compression tool for jpg, gif, png, and other file types. Google also provides another list of image compression tools. While the directions Google provides are valuable and a useful way to discuss with your web development team what needs to be done, yet Google has taken it a step further with the newest changes to the platform. Including a download of optimized files for your organization.
With Google supplying the exact recommendations the ease of implementation and reduction of the bandwidth required from web development department.
Hope these tips were helpful. Feel free to ask questions via twitter about page load speed in the and I’ll respond!