The importance of site speed – and how to improve yours

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When it comes to general and local SEO tips the focus is often on your website content. While website content is absolutely key, there are also other technical considerations to keep in mind.

One of those important technical considerations is the speed of your website.

What is site speed and why does it matter?

Your site speed is the time it takes for pages on your website to load.

It can be different for mobile and desktop however it is more important for mobile as more customers are searching via mobile and Google places more importance on optimised websites for mobile.

It matters because website browsers want pages to load quickly and often won’t wait if your pages are too slow to load.

In fact, 53% of visits are abandoned if the mobile page take more than three seconds to load according to Google research. That means if your website is taking longer than three seconds to load you will likely lose half of your customers – all before they even get to see the content on your website.

Importantly, site speed is also a big factor in search engine optimisation so if you’re looking to improve your Google local ranking boosting your site speed is a valid way to do so.

How to improve your page speed

You first step is to test your page speed which you can do for both mobile and desktop with Google’s PageSpeed Insights here.

This tool will give your webpages a score out of 100 with 100 being exceptional and anything under 49 being poor. Even if you do well it may pay to see if you can make even further improvements.

Optimise your images
Images can slow down your page load time if they are too large. Your goal is to make the file size as small as possible without losing image quality and this is usually easiest to do by compressing the files before uploading them to your content management system.

Even with medium compression your photos should drop significantly in file size while still looking great on your website.

Minify’ your code
‘Minifying’ is a piece of programming jargon that simply means to remove any unnecessary characters in a source code such as, line breaks, white spaces and other superfluous bits and pieces.

By minifying your JavaScript, CSS, and HTML source code, you can shave time off your page speed. The good news is that you don’t need much technical knowledge or time to do it.

You can head to the website MinifyCode, click the appropriate tab (JavaScript, CSS, or HTML), paste in your code, hit ‘Minify’, then take that code back to your website.

Use a host that makes page speed a priority
Many businesses use whichever host they can afford when starting out then never change, however, sometimes the most affordable website hosts are not set up to support the fastest page speeds.

There are countless web hosts available and many of them offer excellent performance across the board including for page speeds. Take a look at DreamHost, Kinsta, or SiteGround just to name a few.

Enable caching
When you enable browser caching it means that you are telling your visitors’ browsers to store some or all of your website’s static files on their mobiles or computers. This means that when those visitors return it will not take nearly as long to load your pages.

Remove redirects
Do you have any redirects set up on your website? Redirects are something of an outdated technique that used to be used for creating websites for mobile browsing but now it is slowing websites down by taking the time to redirect visitors rather than send them directly to the page.

Get rid of any website redirects you have set up to further boost your page speed.

Help is at hand with Local Web: Your local online marketing company

Creating great content is one thing but local SEO strategies can get a little more difficult when it comes to the technical side of things such as your page and site speed.

If you would rather bring in the experts than handle these details yourself Local Web is ready to help with our local SEO services to boost your local ranking.

Contact us today to learn more.

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