Murigeppa R Kolhar Murigeppa R Kolhar, May 16, 2022

Website Speed Optimization (Technical SEO)

The website's speed determines how likely a user is to carry out the web page's required action. Speed cites how fast your website acknowledges when users click on the page URL that diverts them to your website. Site performance optimization depends on technology, and the platform used to build websites and design is the primary focus that represents success for online businesses. Eventually, poor website performance hinders a business's bottom line when the patience of waiting for slow web pages to load frustrates visitors into exploring alternatives.

A website with page load speed strengthens visitor engagement and retention and boosts sales. Swift website response leads to more excellent conversion rates, and every 1-second delay in page load reduces customer satisfaction. There are several grounds why your site pages may load steadily. This article discusses some helpful tips and techniques to improve your website performance and speed to ensure a smooth user experience. Having a quick-loading website is very important for ranking well with Google and safeguarding your bottom-line earnings strong.

Honestly, more than 50% of consumers anticipate websites to load in two seconds or less, and around 30%-40% will give up a page that takes three or more seconds. If your website takes more than three seconds to load, you drop as good as half of your users before they even come on the site. The world is busy, and no one admires waiting for a page to load. There are many techniques and methods, and possibilities are endless to enhance the site's speed. To begin and act on genuine optimization starts with the program level code modifications and finishes on server-side things like CDNs, hosting, caching, and much more.

Let's discuss the best possible ways to optimize a website. This article will guide you on simplifying the website speed optimization process by focusing on best practices and techniques.

Brief Intro to Page Speed

The page speed fundamentally relates to the length of time site pages or media content is downloaded from website hosting servers and shown onto the requesting web portal. Page load time is between clicking the link and displaying the entire content from the web page on the requesting browser. Website performance eventually influences rankings in search engines associated with algorithms, page speed, user experience, website responsiveness, and many other performance metrics. Despite that, web developers and online business owners turn to neglect page load times in their website development and design strategies.

Web page speed optimization must be of the highest significance for any website holder. The speed of your site fiercely impacts your site's SEO (search engine optimization) and bounce rate. A gradual-loading website can deface your distinction and effect you to lose out on traffic and conversions, ultimately costing you capital. It's also noticeable to bear in mind that page speed times can vary throughout different pages of the same site. 

Importance of Page Speed

Various research and statistics have established that website low speed affects conversion rate (the rate visitors finish the desired action). Hence website speed amounts to an impressive user experience, speed enhances the SEO rankings of a website, and speed increases conversion rates. There are a few fundamental principles why page speed matters for website speed optimization.

Web Usability

In web design, usability relates to how simple and easy a website is for visitors to interact with. Some websites are visually appealing but tedious to navigate, making it challenging for visitors to find what they need. Such websites are on the low end of the usability scale. On the other hand, user experience (UX) is all about how visitors feel about interacting with your website. Usability is about functionality, while UX is (as the name suggests) about the experience. The excellent user interface, straightforward navigation, readability, search functionality, and Content usability, to name a few.

The speedy website pages load, the sooner a site gets interactive. The website loading components such as the website menu, visual content, buttons, and more assist users to act on your site. Permitting these features to be eye-catching and usable faster by optimizing for page speed will create happier, returning visitors.

Web Conversion Rate

Website performance has a substantial, significant outcome on conversion rates. Research and Studies have consistently demonstrated that fast page speed will result in a better conversion rate. In other words, the quicker a site page loads, the more probability a user is to carry out the targeted action on that site page. The speed of your website is key to its functionality and usability. Conversion rate is the percentage of visitors who finish the required action on a site in a given period. Any beneficial engagement associated with visitors' activities can add up as the desired input, as long as it fulfills your webpage's objective.

A definite objective that most websites have in common is conversions. Even Research and Studies show that any amount of dip in milliseconds to seconds improvement in your website speed can positively influence conversion rate, customer engagement, and funnel progression. If visitors can't use website features quickly, they will move on to the next one.

Impact On Search Engine

Google analyzes site speed when ranking websites, SEO, and Search Engine Optimization. Website speed can influence how high you rank in search engine results pages (SERPs) based on pages per visit, session duration, time per page view, bounce rate, etc. When you perform a Google search on any device or browser, Google anticipates the page speed of the suitable matches and distributes ranking criteria to the quickest (reacting spontaneously and swiftly). Mainly, the search engine evaluates the page's speed test results. Then they rearrange the active results moving your page up or down based on load times.

Indeed, you can take many methods and steps to improve loading time. Standard modifications include:

  • Optimizing images.
  • Enhancing lazy loading.
  • Minimize the number of plugins and scripts on your site.
  • Reducing page load time by eliminating any needless content or styling that is not required for usability.

The speed of site pages will directly affect search engine ranking pages (SERPs), alongside other important factors such as SEO-favourable domain authority and site structure.

Methods to Measure Page Speed

One of the highest reliability and accepted methods is using Google PageSpeed Insights to measure page speed on your website. You can submit your site URL and stand by for Google to deliver a report on your site's performance. Other methods include Leveraging Google Public DNS to enhance the security and speed of your browsing experience. Based on the PageSpeed score, metrics use PageSpeed recommendations to make your website speedy.

Google PageSpeed Insights will rate your website's overall speed performance by applying a score out of 100. A score ranging between 90-100 is analyzed as optimal, while anything lesser than a score of 60 is considered a caution and should force you to prioritize your website speed optimization.  

Operating different performance testing software to measure site speed will customarily precede other scores. The respective platform consolidates and gathers its analytics data in different ways, affecting your page speed score at any given time. It's necessary to incorporate and focus on measuring page speed from time to time. However, understanding the influence of your design and content on the performance metrics and statistics.

Here are some well-designed user-oriented methods that you can use for website speed optimization.

Media Optimization - File Size and Quality

Images stand at the center of modern websites. Without them, it is hard to establish an inevitable impression on your visitor. Images help businesses capture, engage the visitors, and reduce bounce rates. However, they can also contribute to weak web performance. Search engine crawlers Google and Bing detest image-heavy and slow-loading websites. Large images drastically impact page loading times to increase. But still, websites display stellar quality images, although minimizing their sizes, and still do not suffer a loss in quality.

Construct and make sure you present the images in the proper ratio(size) you need and compress them skillfully. JPG works best for photos; SVG is ideal for high-quality images, illustrations, and icons and can be scaled to any size, while png and vector are best for graphics. Other image formats such as JPEG 2000, XR, or WebP stretch image size while maintaining quality. Since it is essential to accelerate the load time on mobile, you might think about removing photos just on mobile, perhaps using a graphic or pattern instead to enhance the mobile performance. And lastly, larger images further down the page, so they have time to load while users focus on your above-the-fold content.

Various websites use graphics massively, and if images are not condensed, or if you use too high of a resolution, it will slow down your website's performance. In this scenario, use CSS sprites to create a template for images you use consistently on your sites, like buttons and icons. In principle, CSS sprites combine your images into one large file that loads once (fewer HTTP requests) and show only the sections you want to display. This signifies that you save load time by not making users wait for multiple images to load.

Enhancing Site Framework, Architecture, and Code

Complex code, or code that has not been formatted correctly, can slow down the page speed. Using simplified code makes it simpler for Google to crawl your site, which in turn it's easier for pages to load speedily (whatever makes Google's activity effortless is a win for your website). Choose a website architecture that utilizes simplified code on all of its pages, so you won't need to be concerned about verifying it or cleaning it up. Implement the code to load both JS and CSS in a single request for each. This is accomplished by reducing and merging separate JS and CSS files into single batches(clusters). Some of the code level and server-side bottom-line key segments s to consider while building the website are as follows:

  • Choose your framework wisely and Construct CSS and JavaScript externally to boost page load speed.
  • Minify code, and learn your CSS, HTML, and JavaScript to speed up your website.
  • Reduce external HTTP requests and Compress your files.
  • Proper CSS placement and Optimize CSS performance.
  • Proper JavaScript placement, Enable prefetching and Web caching optimization.
  • Work on enhancing speed with a CDN and caching.
  • Work on optimizing the design for mobile users.
  • Infrastructure and Database Optimization.

Additionally, optimizing CSS needs a functional, multi-dimensional all-around approach. Although programmatically written code can be narrowed down using different techniques, going over framework code by hand is a tedious process. Adopting an automated minimizer may yield a superior outcome in such a scenario.

Thus cascading style sheets (CSS) can be applied to transform HTML-based content into a clean and efficient, professional document. Many CSS options require HTTP requests (unless using inline CSS), so you should try to keep down bloated CSS files without eliminating vital features. The more CSS code, the longer the browser takes to retrieve and parse it. And if you want your users to feel a boost with swift load times, you'll need to minimize the volume of CSS code sent to the browser. You can take multifold measures to bring down the total file size, and remember that even a slight reduction can influence and impact load times.

Importance of Content Delivery Network (CDN)

A CDN (content distribution network) relates to servers and data centers located in various geographical locations, distributing and delivering content to websites in their region. This speeds up content delivery times and consequently minimizes load times. CDNs will optimize the delivery of static files such as CSS, images, fonts, and JavaScript to your users. CDNs use geographically distributed global network servers, enabling the nearest server to your visitor will be serving the files. So the load time, e.g., images, will be the same, regardless of where the visitor is connecting. Fundamentally, copies of your website are stored at multiple, geographically diverse data centers so that users have faster and more definitive, reliable access to your website.

Content Optimization

Content optimization can signify a lot of advantages in the context of how you display content on your website page so that the page speed and time to interact are not affected. This strategy delivers an added advantage in achieving search engine rankings. A higher ranking means more organic traffic, and optimized content helps establish the trust and authority of both the visitors and Google.

Enhance Server Response Time

Server response time, in simple terms, is the time it takes from when a user clicks on a link to the site page and the time it consumes for the server to begin to dispatch the page content back to your user. Server response time is stimulated by the extent of traffic it receives, the assets each page uses, the software used by your server, and the hosting solution in use. To boost the server response time, review for performance bottlenecks, for instance, slow routing, slow database queries, or a lack of adequate memory, and work on them.

Thus, web developers need to pay vital attention to server speed, caching, and application programming interface (API) handling while hosting a website. Such components are frequently referred to as technical SEO as they exist behind the scenes and are not part of the visually evident segments of the website.

Bottom Line

Imagine your browsing patterns. If you would not wait precisely for a page to load, why would you anticipate your users to do so? They would not either. Thus, it's dynamic and vital to understand that every customer who bounces from your site is potentially a departed sale.

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Murigeppa R Kolhar

Written by Murigeppa R Kolhar

Kolhar M R is an Accomplished, Passionate, and Result-Driven Software Quality Assurance Management Professional at Inboundsys. Before starting Inboundsys Kolhar had 14 years of IT industry experience working for various organizations. He has been a core associate and worked as a Test Manager in managing World-Class SaaS Products and Services. His domain expertise includes Web Services, Airline, Artificial Intelligence, Cloud-Based Services, Healthcare, Blockchain Technologies, and Finance sectors. His expertise and proficiency include handling End-to-End Software Testing Operations, Project Initiation, Reviews, Test Planning, Test Automation Design, Release Management, and Release Process in the software industry. Leadership areas include Digital Marketing, Social Media, Strategic Marketing, Strategic Consulting, and Brand Management. He loves writing, exploring new things, and sharing knowledge with the world. He is an articulate writer who loves writing on the industry’s latest trends with industry insight articles as blogging (and being an influencer).

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