Optimising Page Load Times for SEO

In this tip, I’m going to show you how to monitor and improve your site’s load time and performance. Slight performance improvements in load times can have a big impact on user experience, affecting how long they’ll likely spend on your site and even conversion rates. Google has also confirmed they use load times as a ranking factor. Many site owners don’t even consider site performance, but it can be one of the factors that make your site seem the most professional and engaging for users.

There are loads of tools available for monitoring site performance. Two of the most commonly used are Google Analytics, and the Google PageSpeed tester tool. The only tool you’ll need to have ready in advance for this video is Google Analytics. Site performance and load time can seem complicated at first. But once you got a hang of the basics, everything else begins to make sense. One of the best ways in monitoring a site performance is through Google Analytics, which can help you monitor your page load times across different devices, locations and operating systems. Just open your Analytics account and in the left menu click Behavior, then Site Speed. And for this example, we’ll start in the Overview section.

Analytic site speed monitoring can be useful for spotting where there might be problems that need urgent attention. For example, we can see if some browsers are performing worse than others. This can tell us if there is a design issue that’s not being picked up and allows us to perform cross browser testing. We can also see if a particular country loads pages more slowly than others. If a country is important to our strategy, this might suggest we should look for a server based in that location, or a content delivery network. We can also see how pages are performing compared to the site average. Poor performance might indicate too many or too large images. Have a play around with the data, and you’ll likely find some areas on your site that need improvement.

The Google PageSpeed testing tool makes it easy to see how your site is performing and provides suggestions for changes which will help improve load times. Simply enter your URL and click Analyze. You’ll see your pages score and a number of improvements prioritized according to estimated impact. Although making improvements to page load times can include some in-depth technical issues. There are also some easy things you can do to make a difference. First, make sure your images are optimized, using images no larger than is necessary, and then the correct format. You can also reduce the number of files that need to be loaded on the page, by combining some images and code files, and also reducing any unnecessary images.

Making sure JavaScript code for things like social buttons is put near the bottom of the page in the code can help the page appear to¬†load faster for users. You can also use something called browser caching, which saves some files in the user’s browser to make moving around the site faster. If your business operates in multiple countries, you can look at using a content delivery network like CloudFlare, which basically stores your website’s information closer to the users. Using a content delivery network might sound complicated, but it’s actually fairly simple to implement and can lead to big improvements in your site’s load times. But if you’re not sure about something, speak to you developer.

Chris is Director of Organic Search for Reprise Melbourne.