For businesses and entrepreneurs who choose to handle their own digital marketing, the main focus is often on the bigger buckets within SEO, such as keyword research and content creation. However, page speed plays a significant role in search rankings and often gets overlooked.
For webmasters, it’s important to understand not only the page speed but also the various factors that impact it and how to improve the speed overall. When it comes to the page speed factor, here’s what webmasters need to know.
Why Page Speed Matters
Page speed is one of the many things crawlers look at when ranking a website on search engine. So, if nothing else, it’s essential to have a page speed that pleases the Googlebot. However, it’s not only modern technology that a website should cater to.
It’s estimated that the average consumer attention span is two seconds. After that threshold, customers start to lose interest and look for other providers, namely your competition. By having website performance monitoring– like Pingdom— in place, you can identify any current performance issues and get ahead of any changes or challenges your business may face. For example, launching a new product that results in a huge traffic spike means that your marketing strategy is performing well, but could cause some detrimental bottlenecks in your page speed and website performance.
Ways to Improve Page Speed
While having performance monitoring in place to identify underlying issues is critical, there are a few simple tasks that can be completed to improve your page speed right now. Here are some of the factors that may impact your page speed.
Optimize Your Images
Whether you choose to use stock photos or personally acquired images of your products, you don’t require the same quality as you would when planning to have them blown up and printed for your wall. While image quality is still tremendously important on your website, it can usually be reduced substantially for this purpose. Professional photography, such as product shots or headshots, are rarely provided in an internet-optimized state.
To optimize your images, look at the file type you’re using. JPEG images are best for photographs while PNG images are better for logos and graphics. Compress your images before uploading or using a plug-in to find that balance between size and quality.
Evaluate Your Server Efficiency
Some hosting services will be better than others, while some are preferable for smaller traffic amounts and others for larger sites. Evaluate your server response time and re-evaluate how much memory you need and if it might be time to switch hosting services based on your current (and future) needs.
Use Browser Caching to Your Advantage
Browser caching retains important information so that it doesn’t need to be completely refreshed every time someone visits your site. Make sure that you have browser caching activated and set it to keep the information for an extended period. If your website changes often, your caching period will be shorter than if it remains static.
Set Key Performance Indicators for Success
There are plenty of other variables that could impact your page speed, such as the quality of your coding and the number of redirects you have in place. This is why having performance monitoring is so important for success.
It’s also important to set KPIs regarding your website’s performance and create a threshold for what’s optimal, what’s acceptable at a minimum, and what needs to be addressed right away. Also knowing your business and preparing for expected traffic increases can help your website perform as it should without delay, which Amazon learned the hard way when it lost over 100 thousand dollars per minute during an outage.
By auditing, monitoring, and setting goals for your website performance, you’ll be able to maintain a page speed that pleases both the Googlebot and your customers.