It’s no secret that website speed optimization is an important SEO ranking factor. But how to optimize for SEO and put your efforts into practice can sometimes feel like a mystery. There are plenty of speed testing tools to aid you in tracking and improving your site speed in Google Analytics, but they might not be enough.
When it comes to SEO, there are no quick fixes. It’s essential to track and improve your site speed and understand the underlying issues that slow down your site in the first place.
This guide will discuss website speed optimization and why it matters for SEO. We’ll also cover how to measure your site speed and where you can start making speed improvements.
Why Is Website Optimization Crucial For SEO?
Website optimization is one of the critical pillars of SEO. If a user lands on your website, it must be fast and easy to navigate. You must ensure that your content is easily accessible and provides all the information you promised clearly and engagingly. The faster loading times are, the more likely people will stick around.
That’s because site speed impacts user experience. If your website is slow and clunky, people will hit the back button and head to your competitor’s site instead—every second counts on the web. If your site isn’t optimized correctly, Google will penalize your site for performance issues.
How To Evaluate Website Speed?
The most critical aspect of optimizing your site for speed is regularly measuring the performance. Many web pros have tools that will automatically calculate and benchmark performance. You can use tools like Google PageSpeed Insights to give you immediate page speed analysis.
However, to truly understand the performance of your pages, you need to take a step back and understand what is slowing down your site in the first place. You will want to evaluate each area of your website and find ways to improve the speed of that specific page.
10 Actionable Steps To Maximize Website Speed
1. Analyze Your Website Speed Using PageSpeed Tools
When analyzing your website speed, it’s essential to understand that many different components go into the overall load speed. However, there are a handful of tools that you can use to both measures and diagnose performance issues.
Here are a few tools to consider:
Google PageSpeed Insights is a handy tool for both SEO and web development. It breaks down where your site speed issues are coming from, as well as gives you some tips on how to improve performance.
PageSpeed Insights also provides an overall performance score for your website’s speed. It analyzes and grades your site based on the performance indicators like mobile-friendliness, page speed, and how well you use Google’s best practices. In many ways, it can act as a checklist for optimizing your website.
GTmetrics is a free tool to optimize your website‘s speed. It provides an analytical overview of your website, including a speed test. The speed test analyzes the performance of your page and gives you a grade of A-F. It then takes one step further by providing you with suggestions on how to improve that performance score.
In addition, GTmetrics gives you suggestions for optimization, such as where to focus your efforts. It even provides you with a list of tests that can be performed to make sure the optimization process is working correctly.
Pingdom is another free tool you can use to assess your website speed. Pingdom gives you a quantitative site evaluation, including a speed test. However, instead of giving you an overall grade, Pingdom breaks down each ranking key factor and analysis, providing you with ways to improve performance.
With these online tools, you can get a snapshot of your website’s speed and performance issues. By taking action on the data, you can save your site from getting penalized by Google. You’ll learn how to improve the speed of your website and even start to understand how to fix the underlying issues that slow down your site in the first place.
2. Compress And Optimize Your Site Images
One of the first things you’ll want to do as part of website speed optimization is to ensure you’re compressing and optimizing your images. It’s one of the easiest ways to speed up your site without sacrificing image quality.
It’s essential to ensure that you’re compressing images in a way that doesn’t sacrifice quality. It’s critical to understand what format will give you the best results in terms of compression and image file size.
3. Minimize Redirects
Whenever you can get rid of redirects on your website, you should. It will not only help speed up your site, but it will improve your user experience as well. There’s no reason to have multiple links that point to the same content on your site.
When optimizing your site for speed, it is essential to identify where redirects exist. They’ll slow down your website and can create multiple extra hops for search engines to crawl. There are several ways to quickly get rid of those redirects, whether moving them to another location on your site or deleting them entirely.
4. Cache Your Website Pages
When you’re looking to boost your site speed, the best way to do so is to ensure that the pages on your site are cached. That means you’ll have a copy of the page served up from your dedicated hosting server. It keeps it from having to reload for every visitor.
The other benefit of caching is that it helps deliver fresh content and prevent slowdowns or outages in accessing your data. Caching can help to provide a better user experience, even if your website is not as fast as it could be.
5. Enable Browser Caching
Browser caching is also essential for performance, as it helps to eliminate the need to reload multiple times. It also gives your users a better experience and prevents them from waiting for your site to load.
When optimizing your site for speed, you want to ensure that you use some caching mechanism. You can ensure that the pages of your website are being served up from your dedicated server through browser caching or web server-side caching.
6. Avoid Using A Slider On Your Header
Understandably, you’d want to use a slider. They’re visually engaging and draw the attention of your viewers. However, regarding website speed, sliders are one of the biggest problems you can face.
Sliders take up a lot of room on your pages and cause issues for mobile users. It’s important to avoid using sliders if you want to optimize your site for speed. Even though you might think that a slider isn’t going to affect the rate of your site, it can have a negative impact.
7. Remove Unnecessary Plugins
If you’re using many plugins, you could be slowing your site down. It is because plugins often require not only content to load but also resources and code. Some plugins can do a lot of work with very little code, but others can add a large amount of complexity.
While some plugins are necessary for your website and help improve your user experience, others are just taking up extra space and creating unnecessary issues for your website speed. If you need to find ways to optimize the speed of your website, removing these unnecessary plugins is an excellent place to start.
8. Utilize Content Delivery Network (CDN)
Google is incredibly picky about the type of content that you can use to improve your website speed. It’s one of the significant ranking factors they consider when accessing your site. To get around this rule, you may want to use a Content Delivery Network or Content Distribution Network (CDN).
A CDN is a network of dedicated servers spread worldwide and located at different geographical locations. If a user goes to Google looking for content on your site, they’ll check out an IP address from one of those servers. Getting content from one of these servers closer to the user is usually much faster.
9. Track Down 404 Errors
404 error pages are a common cause of not having a good ranking. Not only are these pages frustrating for users, but they’re also frustrating for search engines and your orders. The lack of these pages can be attributed to several things.
You could have overlooked an error on one of your pages and lost sight of it. You may also have some technical issues where the page isn’t displayed correctly anymore or has been deleted, making it inaccessible or difficult to find.
When you’re trying to optimize your site speed, you should make sure you’re identifying any technical issues that may be causing your 404 errors and fixing them immediately.
10. Make Mobile Usability A Priority
Speed is one of the biggest complaints people have about mobile websites, so when optimizing your site for faster speeds, it’s essential to ensure that your mobile version doesn’t suffer.
The best way to ensure that your site will load quickly and maintain speed is to ensure that it’s responsive. It means that the design is optimized for all types of displays and devices, regardless of how small or large they are. A responsive site automatically creates a mobile version for smaller screen sizes and adapts content to fit the user’s needs.
For most sites, optimizing your page for speed will help you rank higher in the search engines. However, suppose you can take that extra step to boost your overall website performance. In that case, your Search Engine Optimization efforts will be even more successful.
You can rely on us if you need help optimizing your website for speed. We follow all of Google’s guidelines and offer speedy, effective SEO services to get you ranked higher. Contact us today for a consultation.