Have you ever opened up a website, only to click away a few seconds later after realising how slow it is? We’ve all been there.
To ensure this doesn’t happen to your customers when they visit your website, it’s vital to ensure your site is fast enough to function as intended.
But as well as repelling potential buyers, have you ever considered how your site speed could affect your site’s SEO?
It’s all down to Google.
Google have actually stated in the past that page speed is a relevant factor when ranking search engine results. Many people – professionals or not – do not actually realise that it’s been that way since 2010!
Google’s reason for using site speed as a factor is down to their dedication to delivering the best user experiences. The sites that rank highly are no longer keyword stuffed spam pages. They are high-quality websites with organic, informative information and a clear user interface for their audience – as well as being quick to load.
With that in mind, it’s worth ensuring your site is running as fast as possible.
You don’t want to do anything that will risk your ranking decreasing. Plus, your visitors are more likely to spend more time on your website if it’s fast.
To ensure your site is running at its optimum speed, you can:
- Use specific image formats to reduce the size of the images you use on your website. Larger image files can contribute to slower loading times. Another option is to compress your images and files.
- Ensure you’re using the latest and greatest plugins – but eliminate those you’re not using. Having too many plugins, or plugins that are now out of date or poor quality can cause websites to lag, much to the frustration of your visitors.
- Take advantage of browser caching. This will essentially create a ‘saved’ version of your site that visitors can quickly access, which reduces the number of requests to your server. There will only be a request to the server if your site has changed since the user’s last visit.
- Make sure you’re using a good hosting provider and package. A low priced package isn’t great value if it’s costing you your consumers’ interest. Make sure the server is quick – and not being shared with too many other people in relation to its ability. If shared hosting is proving to be too slow for your needs, consider dedicated hosting.
- Try out a content delivery network (CDN). This can deliver your website files from a server closer to the visitor's location, ensuring they load more quickly.
All of these techniques (plus any others you may try) will help to make your site faster, so you won’t be penalised by Google – or your customers.
Have you noticed your site slowing down lately? If so, it’s probably time to work on improving the situation. If you’re familiar with the effects of slower sites, share your favourite fixes in the comments below – you never know who it might help!