Leverage Faster Page Speed to Improve Search Engine Rankings
Page speed is one of the most important factors that Google takes into account while ranking. Therefore it becomes imperative that pages are optimized to have low page load time. But before we get into how to speed up your website, let’s first understand what Page Speed is, and how it can help you establish your digital footprint.
When you open a web page or click on any link, the speed at which the corresponding web page loads is termed as Page Speed. It can be classified into two different meanings, one is the total content load time of the page and the other is the first byte of content load time to the web browser. The first classification is known as ‘page load time’ while the second classification is known as ‘time to first byte’.
How to check Page Speed?
Evaluation of Page Speed can be done using the Google’s PageSpeed Insights. This tool analyses the Web Page content (including side and type) and then displays suggestions to improve the Page Speed.
How Does Page Speed impact Google rank?
Google announced in 2010 that Page Speed will indeed have an impact on ranking. When a visitor finds your web site and clicks on it, the time it takes for the page to load completely makes a whole lot of difference here. If the visitor has to wait for a very long time, they may eventually get tired, close your website and search for another one. And this behavior results in loss of SERPS. Here is another article by MOZ that explains how important page speed is for organic rankings.
Steps to achieve better Page Speed
Now let’s move to the ways you can improve page speed. There are several ways by which it could be achieved. Some of them are –
Avoiding Landing Page redirects
Perhaps the biggest roadblock to a slower page speed is multiple redirects on Landing Page. Now redirects could happen due to various reasons but one common reason which one can encounter is redirects when a request comes from a mobile device. For example if yourwebsite.com redirects to m.yourwebsite.com, it will result in significantly slower page load.
Therefore one should try to implement a responsive web design so that the same page serves all the requests and provide the best experience.
Today’s modern browsers support and automatically negotiate gzip compression for all HTTP requests. Therefore if one enables gzip compression on the server side, then it can reduce the response time by up to 90%, which can significantly reduce the amount of time to download the resource.
Improving Server response time
Before we get down to the nitty-gritty of understanding how to improve server response time, it’s important to understand what exactly server response time means. Server response time is the time needed to load all the necessary HTML to render the page, minus the network latency. It’s normal for server response time to vary, but consistently higher time is an indication of performance issue.
Slow response time might be due to many factors, including slow application logic, slow database queries, slow routing, frameworks, libraries, resource CPU starvation, or memory starvation. One should take a look at the data and then figure out a solution to slow response time.
Ideally server response time should be under 200ms as per Google.
Leveraging browser caching
Browser caching is very effective for those websites which have returning users.
So essentially this point talks about using browser caching ability to store all those resources (read Header) that are required to render a page faster by using stored resources rather than transferring them over the network. However each resource should specify a specific caching policy that answers the following questions –
- Who can cache?
- For how long?
When one removes unnecessary spaces (data) in a resource without affecting how it is being processed by the browser, it is called minification. For example- removing comments, formatting etc.
One should try to minify jss, css and html as much as possible.
- To minify HTML, try HTMLMinifier
- To minify CSS, try CSSNano and csso.
Images are the most important for any web page as they are descriptions of your words and business. But usually images are the ones loaded last because of their large size. This can be prevented by optimizing oimages such that the data used to load them is reduced as well as the overall performance enhanced.
Prioritizing Visible content
This point comes into the picture when additional network trips are require,d even to render above the page content. If the data required is greater than the initial congestion window (normally 14.6kb comrpessed), additional round trips are required which increases page load time.
Therefore, it’s best to structure the page in a manner so that data required to render above the fold is sent on priority and everything else is deferred. This could mean splitting CSS into 2 parts – one required to render above the fold and the other for the rest of the page.
It’s a no wonder that people are losing revenue in their businesses due to slow web page loading. With the increase in the number of users leverage improved bandwidth and modern browsers, patience is running thin. Increasing the page ranking in Google is a must today for the best business output. The measures outlined above can take you a long way into aiding your SEO efforts, helping you to improve profitability and growth.