The majority of your traffic come from search engines, and Google knows it. Google often uses its notoriety to pressure online content editors in order to make the web faster. A quick loading time is an important characteristic to improve your website’s ranking, even more now that mobile connections have surpassed desktop.
To retain its users Google ensure to offer relevant results and to maximise the experience quality on its search engine. This is why they integrate website loading times as a ranking criteria. To help developers increase servers responsiveness Google has created a free tool, Google PageSpeed Insights, that can analyse your website and list points that should be considered as axis for improvements.
Speed has become a key factor for your competitiveness. As said by SEO expert Andy Kinsey on its blog:
[…] website load times are today a vital part of any digital strategy. If your website is slow, you could be leaving customers unhappy and money on the table.
And you, what is your score?
Case study: Experts Marketing website
At Experts Marketing we started an optimisation process after the integration of our new design. The new template we ordered has provided us a very low PageSpeed Insights score (24/100) with long loading times (3 seconds before any element could be displayed).
Experts Marketing score before optimisation
Applying our expertise allowed us to reach a score of 97/100 and a very quick server response (with an average loading time of 125ms).
Experts Marketing score after optimisation
Tip n°1: clean-up your themes and plugins
Do you use content managment systems (CMS) like WordPress, Joomla!, or Drupal? It may remains modules or plugins activated – by default or following a previous installation – that are not used anymore. Your web integrator should be able to optimise this specific issue. Similarly we advise to paste your Google Analytics code directly inside your template to avoid using a dedicated plugin that may slow down your website. The theme is also a key element in your platform responsiveness. If you are seeking for a new theme, select a responsive design and ask for a demo to make sure the loading times are acceptable.
Tip n°2: minimise the requests number
The rule is simple: the less you request the server, the more it will be capable to handle the charge. The aim is to reduce the number of requests made to display each page. The ideal number sought is 3:
- One request to retrieve the content.
It is the “HTML code”
- One request to retrieve the design.
It is the “CSS code”
- One request to handle event management (forms verification, animations, trackers)
If you use WordPress we recommend the Autoptimize plugin that will handle all that work in just a few clicks, without particular knowledge needed.
Tip n°3: server caching
Does your website contain a majority of static pages? (blog posts, corporate presentations) If it is the case server caching may increase a lot your performances.
Do you know that each time you request a page the server build it interpreting the code from scratch? It may seems astonishing. Server caching solve the issue. Each page is built once and saved into memory for ulterior requests. The performance increase is generally impressive, even tough it can’t be applied to all websites.
The implementation of such a process differs depending of the type of server you are using (Apache, Nginx, IIS) but you infrastructure administrator may be able to advise you on that specific point.
If you use WordPress we recommend the free “Super Cache” plugin and its multi-environments solution.
Tip n°4: client caching and compression
Do not hesitate to contact your infrastructure administrator and to communicate that list of Apache modules to configure:
mod_gzip ou mod_deflate
Tip n°5 : images optimisation
As an editor you must pay particular attention to your content and deliver images of a reasonable size. Nowadays smartphones and digital cameras capture high resolution pictures, much larger than the average screen size. Impose a process (maximum width in pixels, maximum weight in octets, and maximum quality of JPEGs) to your editors so that they adopt the web optimisation reflex. SEO is in the end a global effort, requiring the strength of the whole company and its departments.
If you use WordPress we recommend the free plugin EWWW Image Optimizer that will help you reduce the size and weight of your existing media.
Whether you own a “custom” web solution or use CMS plateform, our experts can help you set up all optimisations needed to increase your ranking on search engine result pages. Do not hesitate to contact us through our form to learn more about how we can help you: