Commercial website owners and digital marketers are always on the lookout to improve their SEO value and optimize their revenue through it. While considering the key SEO determinants, Google announced page speed as a critical element they consider for the ranking algorithms. In this article, we will discuss some tips to optimize the page speed to boost traffic to your website and increase conversions.
As per experts, page speed has a crucial impact on the subsidiary performance indicators as:
- The average length of time a visitor spends on your page
- The percentage of conversion of visitors to customers
- Your position in the organic search results
- The amount you spend on cost-per-click paid search campaigns
Even though marketers know that page speed is a crucial element, many of the websites still lag in terms of page speed. It directly reflects negatively on their page performance and revenue. There are many things we can do in terms of page speed, but with many things on the plate as digital marketers, we tend to push some critical things onto the backburner.
Another reason why page speed is not a primary consideration to many is that many digital marketers are still not able to rightly comprehend the relevance of improving their loading speed by just a few seconds. As a result, they don’t find any value in investing time and money into it.
But in reality, what they understand as inconsequential few seconds has a monumental impact on the results, as done by the most successful industry giants based on their analytics data. Even the smallest of the e-com or business websites can take advantage of it if done correctly. So, if you are mindful of increasing your page speed, let us explore ways to make your website a little faster.
1. Don’t fall for cheap hosting
As there is a global crisis in business, we all are looking for ways to save money wherever possible. One easy way many find to save money is choosing a budget hosting service that posts your website along with many others on to a single server. With this, your performance can surely get hit.
Even on choosing a budget hosting, your website may be up and running, but there is a high chance that sure, your website will be available most of the time as it would with almost any web host. But it may load very slowly that the modern-day internet visitors may quickly get frustrated and instantly leave your site without performing the desired action.
You want people to be on your website for just enough time and to act on what they came to do. It may be anything like answering a question, filling a form, buying a product, or any other action. But if they came on to your page for a call to action, they will hate the experience if they need to wait long to do it. So, if you yield only a few conversions from your Google Ad spend, you must check your page performance next. An Amazon study indicates that even a slower loading by 100 milliseconds could bring down your conversions by 1%. A Walmart study also indicates the results reconfirming this fact.
So, if such a tiny time unit can make a noticeable impact on the results, what can happen if there is a single second delay than expected in your page loading speed? Not only for traffic through paid campaigns, but your page loading can harm your organic search ranking also as search engines also determine a page value based on this factor.
So, the bottom line is that you should never rely on the budget hosting services that pack your website and others. There are many decently priced hosting services, which can guarantee optimal page loading speed and negligible downtime. It would help if you did thorough research and testing to find the best possible hosting option.
2. Include Trailing Slash
Many developers tend to omit the trailing slash, which points to your web pages from your site. It also has an impact on page loading speed. A web server may look for a file with that name when a user visits a URL without a trailing slash. If it finds nothing, it may treat it as a directory and then search for the default file in the directory.
So, by omitting trailing trash, you may be forcing the server to execute unwanted 301 redirects. It may seem to be instantaneous from the user’s point of view, but it takes a little longer amount of time. As we have already seen above, each millisecond counts with it come to the impact of page loading speed on your SEO. Some examples as below:
- Bad: https://yourwebsite.com
- Good: https://yourwebsite.com/
- Bad: https://yourwebsite.com/contact
- Good: https://yourwebsite.com/contact/
3. Reduce the number of HTTP Calls
Each of the web page rendering elements like HTML, CSS, JS, image files, and the fonts, require different HTTP requests. As such requests are increasing; the page loading speed will naturally go down. Many people think that they don’t add any bloated garbage to the website, but unknowingly it is getting added at one end. The bloat isn’t visible out there as the bloat is getting added even when you are sleeping d most of us don’t know how this happens.
Also, when you consider all the images on a page, each of them requiring different HTTP requests, it will quickly go out of hand. The solutions to this problem are to:
- Merge various CSS files into one
- Merge multiple JS files into one
- For frequently loaded images you can use sprites
- You may also use fonts like Ionic Icons or FontAwesome instead of using image files, as this will let only one file to get loaded instead of many
4. Browser caching
By enabling browser caching, the frequently loaded elements of your web page will get stored in the browser of the users. When they visit the same page for the next time, these get loaded immediately from the browser cache without sending a new HTTP request to the server. It will significantly reduce the loading time.
Similarly, when your site’s home or landing page loads on to the browser, the common elements of all pages get stored on the user’s browser with cache enabled. So, on navigating to other pages, only the different elements on each page needed to be downloaded. Thus, the users will not feel any lag in page loading, which can have a significant positive impact on increased time spent on page and thereby its SEO value.
5. Use Compression Effectively
6. Minifying the resources
- WP Rocket
- WP Super Cache
- W3 Total Cache etc.
Along with the above smart methods, you may also prioritize the Above-the-Fold Content (content visible to visitors before they scroll). Optimize all media files on the page, including images, video, and graphics, as well as utilize the CDNs and caching, to reduce your page loading speed and increase your results and SEO value.
Lalit Sharma is an SEO consultant who runs a SEO house called Ranking By SEO. He is specialized in link building and other SEO related activities. You can also find him on Twitter and his personal blog.