Website Speed Optimization: How to boost performance for better rankings on Search Engines
Last Updated on November 20, 2023 by Anjum
We live in a world where attention spans are getting shorter and shorter everyday. People don’t have time to wait for anything, nor do they have the patience to wait for something. If they need something and they are not getting it swiftly, they will move on to the next in line competitor.
Same is the case with websites. When the visitor visits your website and it takes ages for your website to load, the visitor is most likely to switch to some other website with similar content. This also hurts in the long run as the user will know that your particular website is really slow and will likely never come back to visit your website again.
Hence, optimizing website speed and providing a good user experience has become vital for any business that wants to succeed online. Even Search Engines like Google, Bing, Baidu etc. are also putting a lot of emphasis on user experience and a slow loading website will have a negative impact on the search result rankings for a website.
It has become utmost important for website owners and developers to understand the importance of optimizing the website speed and also to understand the relationship of website speed optimization with SEO.
Optimizing website speed for better Google Rankings
Website speed is important not only to provide a seamless user experience but it has a vital role in SEO – Search Engine Optimization for the website as well. Google and other such search engines consider the website speed as one of the top ranking factors. In fact Google Search Console has a separate section dedicated to your website speed and user experience that tells you how your website is performing.
Slow loading websites can lead to higher bounce rates which in turn leads to very little time spent on your website by visitors and thus reduced conversions, but if the website is fast and loads quickly than it can greatly improve your user engagement and also increases the chances of visitors staying on your website for longer time.
Understanding Website Speed and its Impact on User Experience
One of the most basic definition of website speed is the time it takes for a website to fully load. It includes many different factors such as size of the webpage, server response time, network latency etc. If a website is slow, it can frustrate the users and makes them more likely to leave your website. Studies have shown that a drop of a second in website loading speed could lead to lower conversion rates.
Core Web Vitals on Google Search Console and Website Speed
Google being the market leader in search engines has a separate section by the name of Core Web Vitals in its Google Search Console that specifically categorizes the webpages of the website into good, needs improvement or poor URLs categories based on the Page loading speeds.
A good Page Loading speed according to Google Search Console’s Core Web Vitals is under 2.5 seconds. If the webpage loading speed is between 2.5 to 4 seconds than it is categorized under Needs Improvement URLs. Finally anything above 4 seconds is categorized as Poor URL.
You can see the report of your website for both Mobile and Desktop pages. This just shows that Google takes website speed as one of the most important factor when it comes to Search Engine rankings.
Popular Read: Choosing the Fastest WordPress Hosting for Your Website
Website Speed Optimization – Boost Site Performance for better Rankings | Best Practices and Techniques for Improvement
In order to improve your Website’s Loading Speed or Website Speed Optimization, you first need to analyze your website’s current performance and from there on you need to find out which areas are in need of improvement.
Analyzing the Website Loading Speed
Now you will have a question in mind that How can I analyze my website’s loading speed or current performance? There are lots of tools available for you to analyze your website’s performance. You can use Google PageSpeed Insights or GTmetrix to assess the performance and you can also identify the areas of improvement using these tools. Following are the links to these tools:
- Google PageSpeed Insights: https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights/
- GTmetrix: https://gtmetrix.com/
- Pingdom: https://www.pingdom.com/
Caching and Compression to Boost the Loading Speed
Some of the most effective things you can try for your website to reduce the load on your web server and improve the loading time is to use Caching and Compression.
Compression reduces the file sizes of your website’s resources thus improving the loading speed. Both of them can be used simultaneously and will boost your website’s loading speeds. This is one of the best techniques for website speed optimization.
Optimizing Images and Reducing File Sizes
Images are probably the biggest contributors in a slow performing website. Size of images can be an issue for the website. More images mean more loading time required for the website. But Images are a necessity and without them your website will be bland.
In order to overcome this issue, you should optimize the images and reduce the file sizes of these images so that the loading time gets shorter. Compress the images using tools available on the internet. A simple google search will yield lots of such tools. Make sure the image quality is not reduced when you compress the image. Image types like JPEG and WebP offer good compression and are relatively lesser in size. Use them rather then using bulky images.
Another tip is to use Lazy Loading Images, which loads the image when you reach that part of the webpage thus reducing the initial load times for your website. Use a plugin to use Lazy Loading Images. Any good cache plugin should have a Lazy Loading Image setting.
Another good tip is to remove any unwanted code or unnecessary comments from your website as they might be making your website slow. If you are not an expert in coding then don’t try this step.
Use Content Delivery Networks – CDNs
Content Delivery Networks (CDNs) are a network of servers distributed across various locations globally. They store copies of static files of websites on these servers and the CDNs can deliver content to users from the server closest to their geographical location.
This improves network latency and improves website loading speed thus ensuring faster page load times. These CDNs might charge you for there services but most of them have a free limit that you can use for free.
Continuously Monitor Your Website’s Performance
Monitoring your website’s performance is an ongoing process. Keep a check of your website speed and co-relate it with the traffic to see if it has a significant impact on your website rankings. You should be regularly checking your website’s speed with free or premium tools like GTmetrix or Pingdom etc. These tools can provide insights into areas that need further optimization and help you stay on top of any potential issues that may arise.
One will always prefer a fast loading website over a slow loading website if the content is similar. Tweaking your website’s settings in order to boost your site’s loading speed is not rocket science, but make sure you back up your site before making any changes just in case something goes wrong.
Even if you are not an expert you can still boost the site’s speed by following the techniques mentioned above. See what works for you and stick to it.
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This post was on Website Speed Optimization: How to boost performance for better rankings
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