Page Speed Optimization

Page speed optimization (how fast your site is) is an important metric for SEO (Search Engine Optimization). In fact, Google themselves have officially stated that page speed is one of the major variables in their page ranking algorithm. In addition to being a major signal for Google’s page rank algorithm, page speed is important to your user base as well. Research has shown that pages with longer load times have a higher bounce rate than faster ones. Since page speed is so obviously important to search engines, it should be important to you and your web team as well. So first, we’ll show you just where to find your page speed. Then let’s explore some ways to improve your page speed score.

How Fast is Your Site? – Where to Find Your Page Speed Score

One of the best places to discover your page speed score is a web tool called GT Metrix. This tool will give you two different speed scores, including YSlow and PageSpeed. To use GT Metrix, visit their website, enter your URL in the large field, and then click “Analyze.”

After the tool is done scanning your site, it’ll spit out a few different scores.

Don’t like your Page Speed score? Don’t worry! There are things you can do!

Compress Some Large Files

One of the first things you should do to help improve your Page Speed score is to compress your larger files. Use a tool (something like Gzip) to compress HTML, CSS, and JavaScript files larger than 150 bytes. This will help to reduce response times and consequently improve your Page Speed Score. *NOTE – Do NOT use Gzip to compress images and video files. This will remove your ability to control the quality of your final product.

Minify Your HTML, JavaScript, and CSS Code

What “minifying” code means is to reduce the number of unnecessary bits. This is done by removing unnecessary characters, spaces, commas, unnecessary comments, and unused code. There are a few tools that Google themselves recommend for helping you minify your code. They include CSSNano (for CSS), HTMLMinifier for HTML, and UglifyJS (for JavaScript).

Leverage Your Browser Caching

Basically, leveraging your browser caching means limiting the amount of time your website tells any given browser to cache (store) information for quick loading. To do this, simply set your “expires” header to a different timeframe. The standard cache expiration rate is one year.

Optimize Images

We talked about when we said to compress some larger files. You will also need to do this with images. However, do not use the same tool (Gzip) to do so. Instead, use something like Photoshop or GIMP for this, as it gives you more granular control of the final product. Also, make sure that the correct file types are used for the correct types of images. Generally, you want to use JPG files for photographs and complex images. You’ll want to use PNG files for graphics and objects with fewer than 16 colors. There are also SVG images and a few other filetypes. Still, generally, you’ll want to make sure that most of your site uses JPG, PNG, or SVG filetypes for images. You can also use CSS sprite sheets to create a template for images you often use (like icons and buttons). This allows you to combine all your frequently used images into a single file that all loads at once, then you can display (using CSS) the part of the larger image you wish. Again, this will cut down on HTTP requests to your server and improve Page Speed scores.

Too Much for You? Let the Contractor Advertising SEO Professionals Handle Your Page Speed Optimization

If all of this sounds too technical or complicated to you (or you don’t want to deal with it), then you can always contact the team of SEO professionals here at Contractor Advertising. We’re always available to help you with all your Page Speed optimization needs! Contact us today.