It’s no secret that site speed is a major metric that Google and other search engines use to rank a site. This has to do with the user experience. If your site is slow, people will not have a good time. This reflects poorly on the search engine for recommending you to the user. Google is smart enough to avoid this by ranking you lower than your competitor that has a faster site. This means you better have a good website development team.
That’s why it pays to know what your site speed should be and how you can improve your website for faster performance for better SEO.
Running a Page Speed Test
It all starts with a simple test. To know what your current speed are, you should run them through various tools to get how your site performs.
On that note, we have a few recommendations you can use for free.
Pingdom is a pretty solid site that allows you to test your site speed from different serves in California, New York and even Australia. You simply plug in your domain and let the tool take care of the rest. They even let you know how well your site does compared to the average site speed.
Google Lighthouse Test Result
We highly recommend using Google Lighthouse (plugin) or Google PageSpeed Insights (website). It’s the same concept; they simply give you performance feedback. Google’s tools are a lot more in-depth and are helpful if you know how to solve the issues they point out.
Common Site Speed Issues and How to Fix Them
One of the main things that will slow down your site are large images. Most people don’t resize the images they use on their website. You might be using a 4k pixel image in a space that only needs 500 pixels. This is a very common mistake. If you go to a site and right click on an image, then choose the “Open Image in New Tab” selection, you’ll probably see a much larger version of the image than the site actually displays. It helps to resize your images and reduce the file size.
Start by deciding what size the image needs to be and then use a tool like Photoshop to resize the image to what you need. You can also reduce the quality of the image to keep the dimensions of the image and still increase the speed in which it loads. We recommend using a tool like Optimizilla to reduce the file size.
Image optimization plugins
Open source websites building platforms like WordPress also offer a wide variety of image optimizing plugins so you can start automating some of these tasks. Some examples include: Kraken.io, Smush or Imagify.
Be sure to research the plugin you want to use before downloading it. Look for low ratings, last updated dates, and the number of active users when making your decision.
This is a really important factor to keep in mind as well. Browser cache is about storing website files, like JS and CSS, in your local temporary internet files folder. This is so they can be retrieved later for faster response times. The issue occurs when you have too much data and your site speed suffers. Try using plugins that cache your page automatically/
WP Super Cache
This is one of our favorite tools to use for WordPress sites and we highly recommend using it. WP Super Cache has a lot of settings that gives you full control over when your site caches a page.
Your page speed test tool will probably tell you to:
- Try to minify your CSS files
- Minify the JS files of your site
- Minify your HTML files or
- Enable (GZIP) compression
Another plugin that we recommend (Paid Plugin) is WP Rocket.