As Google continues to enhance it’s algorithm, we’re beginning to see large ranking shifts based on factors that never existed a few years ago. One of the more notable recent additions to the ranking algorithm is “site speed”
Google is now taking into account how fast a website loads when determining which search results to show, obviously the faster the site loads, the better. Google provides a lot of information and useful tools to help you diagnose your current site speed both within Google Webmasters Tools and with a Fireflox plugin for firebug called site speed.
This is now one of first clear signs of SEO crossing over into the realm of web development, and even web design to a certain degree.
If you are creating a brand new site, you need to begin your on-page optimization at the earliest possible stage — even before any kind of development has begun if possible.
Building a website, with an emphasis on SEO at it’s foundation will help you achieve better rankings in the long run. Taking things like page speed and user experience into account before the first line of code has been written is the most valuable piece of advice I can offer.
But, what if you already have an existing website, and it’s reported as “slow” There’s plenty of things you can do to speed it up:
- Optimize all of the images, or have your designer do this for you
- Install and run Page Speed within firebug and follow the recommendations
- Consider some form of caching – if your using a CMS like WordPress or Joomla, there are already plugins that will do this for you
- Try and always use clean code, and if possible – make sure it validates (a lot of SEO’s miss this low hanging fruit – websites with clean, validating code do have a small advantage over sloppy / none validating code, an emphasis on small, but any advantage is a good advantage!)
Remember, making your site load faster from an SEO perspective is great, but it’s a proven fact that pages that load faster typically leads to more page views and lower bounce rates and will be a nice boost to your users experience, which at the end of the day – should be the focus of all our optimizations.
This is a guest tip by Simon of SEO Audit