3 Reasons to Speed Up Your Website + 6 Tools that Will Help You
April 30, 2013
1. The Search Engines Demand Faster Websites
We hear all this buzz around the web-sphere about having to make your website perform faster for SEO. There has been many tests, speculations, recommendations and even demands to making your website faster for improved search engine rankings. In 2010, the Google Webmaster Central Blog stated this:
“You may have heard that here at Google, we’re obsessed with speed in our products and on the web. As part of that effort, today we’re including a new signal in our search ranking algorithms: site speed.”
It doesn’t get more straightforward than that. In short.. If your site is slow, Google could easily penalize your website, just as much as they can reward it for being fast. In fact, both Google and Yahoo! have provided page speed tools to help webmasters learn how fast their websites are performing (Google Page Speed Insights & Yahoo! YSlow). There are many factors to making a website speedier, including size of web pages, external file sources, styling, CMS, hosting, just to name a few. And withGoogle and Bing/Yahoo! both suggesting that you make changes to increase your page speed, it may be something to take serious if you want to perform better on their SERP’s.
A study by LightSpeedNow showed that by making a website faster, Google sent 15% more traffic. Bing and Yahoo! also sent more traffic.
2. Faster Sites Are Better for Search Bot Crawling
Imagine 1,000’s of search bots approaching your website with a 4 second limit. (You can apply this 4 second limit to per page or site-wide, both are applicable), how far would these bots get through your website? Would they be able to crawl your whole site or just a quarter of a page? Try using the Web Page Test Tool to learn about your website’s timing. This tool also provides a great ‘Waterfall’ view of the bots’ progression though your website & files. If it takes more than 4 seconds for your page to load, you could be loosing out on site speed ranking factors, search bot indexing crawl rates, and most of all those “need-it-now” users.
3. Speaking of Users…
Let’s not forget who our websites are really for… the users! Yes, we do need a means to get the users to our website. But user activity is the ultimate measure of the productivity and likability of our websites. Sure the engines can measure how long it takes to load a page and discover errors that prevent the site from performing at its optimal rate. But our visitors are the ones that click back buttons, go from page to page, and determines if our website is worth coming back to, or staying on. You also don’t want to frustrate your potential buyers.
So, all in all, having a fast website is good for both the search engines and your target users. Consider what Jon Colman, former Chief SEO of REI had to say about improving their site’s performance;
” …their website received a traffic increase of over 25%, from just a 12% speed increase!”
So speed up your website. Here is a list of website/page speed tools to help you.
- Google PageSpeed Insights
- Yahoo!’s YSlow (actually a browser extension)
- Web Page Test
- Page Size Extractor (shoot for <10K Bytes & >10% Text)
- W3C Site Validator (Cleaning up code can sometimes help, especially the warnings)
Getting the best results from these tools can pretty much ensure you that your website is in good standing for a MAJOR search ranking factor (site speed)when it comes to both Google & Bing. Good luck!