Is there anything worse than the purgatory that is watching a web page sputter for a number of seconds before loading? This may sound like an insignificant issue rooted in user impatience; however site speed is more important than you may think. Site speed undoubtedly affects user experience, but it has been found that it also affects your search engine rankings considerably. When looking to optimize your site, there are a few reasons and ways to increase your site speed, ultimately helping to make your site better in the long term.
Why Does Site Speed Matter?
Site speed first and foremost is important when it comes to the user experience. A faster website results in a better user experience, which leads to visitors spending more time on your site and therefore resulting in more business for you. Another reason that site speed should be important when optimizing your site is that upload times are factored into your search engine ranking. In plain terms, when someone conducts a Google search, Google looks at the page speed of relevant matches and provides a ranking advantage, or bonus, to the fastest match. Google factors multiple scores from various speed tests across a number of countries, devices, and networks to decide which match receives a ranking bonus.
Overall, the take away is that Google looks at site speed a lot more closely than you may realize, therefore improving your site speed can be a very advantageous move when doing SEO work.
Simple Tactics to Speed up Your Site
Reduce Plugin Use
Having too many plugins on your site can lead to a number of issues including: slower site speed, security problems, and site crashes. One way to help avoid this is to deactivate and delete any plugins that are not being utilized. The best way to go about this is to selectively disable plugins and then measure your server performance, allowing you to detect any plugins that are harmful to your site speed. This method should help to increase site speed easily, with minimal effort.
Optimize Your Images
Larger images take longer to load, so an easy way to increase your site speed it to reduce the images on your site to a smaller size, use the correct format, and make sure your coding is correct. Some easy image editing tips are:
- Crop images to smaller or more correct size rather than just changing their dimensions after uploading.
- Reduce color depth to the lowest tolerable level.
- JPEG is the best format option.
- PNG is also a good option; however older browsers may not fully support it.
- Do not use BMP’s or TIFFs and GIFs should only be used for smaller, simpler graphics.
Also it is important to always include the src attribute with a valid URL when adding images. In HTML, the image’s code includes this:
When there is no source in the quotation marks, the browser must make a request to the directory of the page or to the actual page itself. This is important because an empty image src code can lead to unnecessary traffic and even corrupt user data.
Google’s PageSpeed Insights
Google’s PageSpeed Insights is a great tool for monitoring your site speed, both for your desktop and mobile pages. This tool shows you exactly how Google sees your site in terms of speed, while also offering suggestions on how to improve upon your current speed. The suggestions range from simple to complex fixes that will ultimately aid in improving your site speed and your search engine ranking.