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6 Ways to Increase Page Load Speed for SEO
Posted on January 27th 2013
Increasing page load speed isn’t just necessary these days for increasing conversion rates. One of its biggest benefactors is now search engine optimization, especially since the creation of Google’s site preview feature. Ask any SEO about the importance of page load speed when it comes to rankings and expect to get a discourse on the subject.
But while everyone in the SEO industry knows the importance of page load speed and its effects on rankings, not everyone is as nearly aware of the technical details that go into actually making a website faster. So rather than just telling you why page load speed is so important, I’m going to break down a few technical specifics that you can get working on today to make your website faster!
1. Server Side Caching
Server side either using something like PHP caching or leveraging your htaccess. If you’re running a wordpress site (and there’s a good chance you are) than you can install the WP Super Cache plugin which will make this happen for you. Caching will save you a ton of memory on your server and increase the page load time dramatically for the end user.
2. Minimizing CSS
There are actually dozens of free tools that will help you minimize your CSS files. Do a Google search and pick a tool, or do it manually if you choose. The goal here is that you eliminate excess code, duplicate code, and condense the overall CSS file into fewer lines of code.
4. Minimize Programming Scripts
This one takes a bit more knowledge in coding but is crucial for increasing page load speed. Let’s say for example you have a site running WordPress, in which case you have a particular theme that your site is using. 9 out of 10 themes use far too much PHP and query the database far too many times. Reducing this code down to what’s necessary will speed you up big time!
5. CSS Sprite Images
Your effort in this area will probably have the biggest impact of all. This involves combining multiple images into one image, and then using the CSS background-position syntax to call specific images within your one image. That way the look and feel of your site is really only loading 1, maybe 2 images rather than dozens. Less calls to the server for images means less time to load.
6. Mobile and Tablet Versions of Site
Create mobile and tablet versions of your site and use the display:none CSS syntax to eliminate divs that the mobile user doesn’t need. If you minimize your site in this fashion and focus on giving your mobile users a better user experience, you will by default drastically increase page load speed for that 20-30% of your audience that comes to your site through mobile devices.
Sure there’s many others that people always mentions such as “purchase better hosting” or “host your images in the cloud.” But there’s always more we can buy. Instead I wanted to spell out some specific efforts you can put forth now to get the most out of your hosting and business situation. It’s not always about buying more of something when it comes to increasing page load speed on the web. Most of the time it’s about better optimizing what you already have!