September 19, 2016

Site Speed and Search Engine Optimization

by Pat Walsh

Site Speed Matters

It’s pretty simple – the slower your page loads, the more likely your visitor will leave your site. In fact, every second counts when it comes to your page load time. Here’s some page performance facts that you shouldn’t ignore:

  • A single second delay in your website loading time can result in a 7% loss in conversion, and 40% of web users will abandon a website if it takes longer than 3 seconds to load.
  • Slow loading websites cost the U.S. e-commerce market more than $500 billion annually.
  • 51% of U.S. online shoppers cite slow site loading times as the top reason they abandon a purchase.
  • 50% of mobile users will abandon a web page if it takes more than 10 seconds to load. 60% of them won’t return to the site.

Source: Hosting Facts

The truth is that not only does your site speed matter to your visitors, it also matters to search engines. Google made it official awhile back, confirming in this blog post that they have started to factor page speed into search ranking. And while it is not considered yet, it seems that the speed of your mobile site could impact your rank soon.

Starting to see the importance of a high performance website?

How to Analyze Your Site’s Page Speed

There are a number of tools available for measuring site performance, and identify where you can make improvements. Here’s two of them:

Think with Google lets you check your site for mobile friendliness, mobile and desktop speeds. It grades each of these on a scale of 0-100, and provides tips for improvement.

GTmetrix analyses your site speed, and provides in depth details about your site’s performance.

So, what are ways to optimized your site performance?

Optimize Images

Seems pretty basic, but worth noting – images that are not optimized for web largely contribute to slow page load. Use “Save for Web” in Photoshop, and balance quality with optimum file size.

Minify

It’s a good idea to squish or minify your css and javascript. Reduce file size as well as number of requests (consolidate your javascript and css files).

https://cssminifier.com/

Browser Caching

Using meta tags, you can control what data is cached in your browser. Obviously, cached information is less expensive than loading fresh content into your site.

  • No-cache: Prohibits caching.Useful for pages that are updated quite a bit.
  • Public: Enables caching on proxy servers.
  • Private: Allows caching for local usage.
  • Max-age: Sets the cache expiration time (seconds).
  • No-store: Means that your page has private data that can’t be stored.

Learn more about browser caching.

Compression

Using Gzip, a method of compressing or making files smaller,  allows for faster network transfers. Compression enables your server to deliver smaller file sizes.

Here’s a few different ways you can enable compression via gzip

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