Page Speed: Ways to Improve Page Load Time [SEO Best Practices]

Things are moving fast in the world, and life on the web is no exception. In this day and age when each of us wants instant gratification, a slow page load time could cost you a lot of qualified traffic coming to your website. Delay providing your audience with the information they are seeking on your page by a fraction of second, they end up getting frustrated and leaving your website. In the realms of the web, each second matters! The page speed or page load time — which is basically the time it takes to fully display the content on the requested web page to the audience — and its optimisation, thus, is an important ranking factor and it plays a vital role in improving your website rank on the Google search engine result page (SERP).

There are a number of tools which can help you with testing the page load time for your website. The resources such as Google’s PageSpeed Insights, Lighthouse and GTMetrix do provide some useful overview using which you can speed up the page loading. You wonder, what is a good page load time? Ideally, 2-5 seconds! However, the users on desktops expect the webpages to load within 2 seconds; as per a recent poll, more than 40 per cent Internet users exited the website if it took longer than 3 seconds to load. Let’s have a look at some of the ways to reduce page load time and improve page speed.

Reduce Redirects

Redirects can affect page speed by making the web page load slower. There could be legitimate reasons to add redirects but keep in mind, these make your visitors wait for an additional second or two as they get redirected from one page to another. Every time an extra HTTP request-response cycle completes, the visitor gets to reach on the destination page later. Removing redirects which are not ‘absolutely necessary’ for the website would not only improve the page speed but it will also give your website audience a better user experience (UX).  It’s worth mentioning here that web browsers can handle server-side redirects much quicker than client-side redirects and there are situations when server-side redirects are good for the search engine optimisation  (SEO) of your website.

Use a Content Delivery Network

It is all about improving the experience of your visitor coming to your website. The faster he retrieves the web pages, the better his experience is. Content Delivery Network (CDN) can significantly increase page speed as these networks with their server nodes spread across the world help a user retrieve data from the closest node from his location rather than fetching it from the original sever based in a far off location. For instance, your server is based in the United Kingdom and most of the traffic you get on your website comes from the United States. For a user located in London, the website speed would be faster as compared to the one located in Seattle, a city in the US. Adding CDN would do away with these latency and response time issues for the user in Seattle as now he would be able to retrieve the data from a much closer server node located in the same country, say in Newyork.

Optimise Images

You could significantly reduce page load time by optimising images on your website. A large image with size upwards of a megabyte or two could take much longer time to display completely to your visitor, making the overall page load time slower. It is, thus, imperative to keep the images on the website in the right format and compressed, with sizes as low as possible without compromising on their clarity.

Use Browser Caching

Leveraging browser caching is particularly useful to those repeat visitors who like to come to your website frequently. You don’t want them to spend time downloading all the web files including HTML, CSS, JavaScript and images each time they visit your website. It’s okay for the small size files but for the larger files, this could add extra time to load web page for your visitor. If the user could save some of these files locally on the browser, he will enjoy a much-reduced page load time in his future visits to your website.

Conclusion

Reducing your page load time could dramatically improve the experience of your visitors, and that’s what matters for Google the most. The higher is your page speed, the higher will be the chances of visitors staying on your website for a longer duration. This would not only decrease the bounce rate of your website but, research shows, it would also increase conversions substantially.

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