Apr 19, 2023
When Google determines how well your website ranks in the search results, they use a number of different factors. Some of these factors are a closely guarded secret, while others are well publicized and hold more weight. One confirmed ranking factor that plays a significant role in determining your search position is the speed at which your page loads. Page speed has always been important from a visitor's point of view, but in July 2018, Google confirmed that as part of the so-called 'Speed Update,' they would use loading times to help determine search results, especially for mobile users. The good news is you can work with an SEO company in Knoxville to optimize your website for faster loading times. Take a look at some of these tips and tricks for boosting page speed!
The best place to start if you want to optimize your page speed is to find out how fast (or slow) your website is right now! There are a number of free online tools that can be used to test your website, including the likes of DebugBear and GTMetrix. These will score your website based on how long it takes to load completely. They will also offer a summary of the areas that could potentially be slowing your website down. This is useful as it gives you an idea of where to start making changes. Don't worry if this seems overwhelming to you! You can work with an SEO company in Knoxville to address the issues flagged up on the report.
One of the most common areas that affects page loading speed is the Largest Contentful Paint (LCP). This is a user-centric measurement of how quickly visitors perceive the page to load based on the point at which the page's main content has fully loaded. This may not necessarily be when 100% of the page loads, just the most important parts. You may be wondering why this is important to your visitors. In the simplest of terms, a faster LCP reassures visitors that the page is useful without them having to wait until it is fully loaded. It is important to keep in mind that only the beginning of the load is captured, so it is best to avoid splash screens or loading indicators as these are not relevant to the user. It can be tricky to get your LCP just right, but working with an SEO company in Knoxville will help you as they have the knowledge of how to handle this situation. Browsers will assume by default that your images have lower priority than your text. However, you can use Priority Hints to indicate which of your images are more important to load. In most cases, this will be those near the top of the page that your visitors will see immediately. The ideal LCP that you want to aim for is under 2.5 seconds.
Choosing attractive imagery is a big part of creating a website that is attractive to your visitors. They can also play a role in enhancing your content since visual content is more engaging for text; however, the flip side is that large images can slow down your page loading. One of the easiest ways to help your pages to load faster is to compress and optimize your images to reduce the file size. There are a number of steps that you can take to optimize the images. These include changing to a different file format, enabling lazy loading, and using either lossy or lossless compression to reduce file size. When reducing the size, you must ensure that your images are still crisp and vibrant. Work with an experienced SEO company in Knoxville to optimize your images for the best loading times.
Pro Tip! While you are compressing and optimizing your images, you can also take the opportunity to title them and add ALT tags using descriptive keywords to give your SEO a boost!
Another step that can be taken is to make sure that the coding of your website is clean. Do not underestimate the issues that can be triggered by bad code. If your code is not optimized correctly, the performance of your website could be impacted. It is important that your code is clean and free from errors that may invalidate HTML. It is also a code idea to remove any code that is not adding anything meaningful to the website. Editing your code is not something you should do unless you are experienced in HTML, but an SEO company in Knoxville can work with you to optimize it.
After your optimization efforts, you will want to run another speed test on your website to see if it has made a difference to your loading time. However, this is not a one-off test. It is important to carry out regular speed tests to monitor your website's performance. As an SEO company in Knoxville, we would recommend checking the speed and performance around once per month. This will allow you to identify any issues that may develop that might affect the loading time of your pages. Arranging a maintenance plan with an SEO company in Knoxville will help you to keep on top of the general maintenance and monitoring of your website.
To Your Best Online!
Ingrid Maddox, Internet Marketing & Strategy Consultant. bluedress INTERNET MARKETING®, an Internet Marketing Company headquartered in Knoxville, TN. Internet Marketing Developed, Implemented, and Managed to Full Circle! Organic Internet Search Engine Guru. Turn-Key Internet Optimization Programs Placing You Everywhere and Anywhere You Need to Be Online.