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Improve Your Site’s Speed to Earn Higher SEO Rankings

You can greatly improve website performance by following a few steps to reduce the impact of those items on your load time.

In recent years, Google has expanded its search algorithm to include technical factors that measure site performance and usability, and it continues to increase those standards. Site speed has become important enough to Google that it now provides a tool where you can see how well your site performs and obtain recommendations from the search giant on improving its performance. 

Improving site speed helps your company in two important ways:  1) It can boost your search engine rankings, and 2) it gives your site visitors a better overall experience, which may lower bounce rate and encourage visitors to spend more time clicking through your site.

Running a Google PageSpeed Insights evaluation on your website will most likely reveal some commonly known problems. Here is a list of those usual suspects and some recommendations and tools to help you boost your score.


Problem #1: Your images are too large and are loading too slowly.

Today’s website design trends often include very large, high-quality images that can dramatically increase website-loading time. Fortunately, there are techniques that can be applied to images that will improve page speed without sacrificing quality.  

Recommendations:

  1. Apply compression to images, which will remove unnecessary data from the image allowing it to render more efficiently.
  2. Instead of allowing all images on the page load simultaneously, use lazy loading. Lazy loading is designed to render the images as needed as the user scrolls down the page. 

Problem #2: Your code is bulky.

The backend code of your website is also a major contributing factor when it comes to your page speed. Taking some initial steps to refine this code will have a considerable impact on your site’s overall performance.

Recommendation:

Minify your HTML, CSS and Javascript, to remove unnecessary code, spaces, comment tags or characters in your code. Without these extra coding elements, the files will be parsed more quickly, which will facilitate a faster loading time.


Problem #3: Your CMS needs to be refined.

There are a number of features throughout your CMS that could be weighing down your site. You can greatly improve website performance by following a few steps to reduce the impact of those items on your load time.

Recommendations:

  1. Remove any unused plugins and disable unused plugin features.
  2. Remove unused themes. 
  3. If you have an e-commerce platform, disable any services and features that are not being utilized. Disable e-commerce capabilities on non-ecommerce pages. 
  4. Install a caching plugin so repetitive data doesn’t have to load with each visit.

Tools that are available to help improve your PageSpeed Insights score:

Fortunately, there are tools available that can be applied to your CMS that can automatically perform many of the recommendations listed above, so you don’t have to complete them manually:

  1. Tiny JPG / Tiny PNG, Smush Image Compression and Optimization, ShortPixel
    These are a few of the many free image compression tools that are available for reducing image sizes.
  2. JCH Optimize
    The JCH Optimize plugin offers lazy load capabilities, minification, page caching options, etc.
  3. J Speed
    The J Speed plugin offers image optimization, lazy load capabilities, minification, page caching options, etc.
  4. Autoptimize 
    Autoptomize offers image optimization settings, lazy load capabilities, minification, page caching options, etc.
  5. WordPress Site Health
    Among other benefits, visiting the WordPress Site health section of the CMS can pinpoint unused plugins and themes so you can take the next step in disabling them.

The vast number of tools available to improve the performance of your website can be overwhelming, but starting with these items can greatly boost your score in a relatively short period of time. Once these items have been addressed, you can proceed with fine-tuning your score by tackling the more tedious and time-consuming issues listed in your Google PageSpeed Insights report.


For help improving your website’s SEO, including speed and performance, contact Pilot Fish or call 877-799-9994 ext. 2102.

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