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Improve SEO through page speed and performance

There are many factors that impact your websites overall SEO score. Page speed and performance are some of the key metrics to assess your website. With new changes coming to the googles page experience algorithm in June 2021, now is the perfect time to explain how to improve your SEO through page speed and performance.

How does page performance impact my overall SEO score?

Often when people talk about SEO and search engine page ranking, they focus on the basics. Whilst content is an important factor, page design and performance are often overlooked. By not ensuring their website page performance is up to scratch only serves to undermine all the good work they have done through their content strategy. To explain, google uses various algorithms in order to rank a page on its search engine. Google page performance algorithm uses page experience signals in order to rank the performance of a page and, therefore, the pages overall SEO score. Essentially you have to tick the right boxes in order to maintain/improve your current overall ranking.  

The existing list (as defined by Google) consists of the following;  

  • Mobile friendly – you can check if your page is mobile-friendly here
  • Safe browsing – the page doesn’t contain any malicious or deceptive content. You can check this here 
  • HTTPS – your page has a padlock and an HTTPS prefix. This means it is served over HTTPS. If it isn’t, you need to acquire an SSL certificate either through your web host, or you can provision one for yourself and apply it.  
  • No intrusive interstitial’s – The content on a page is easily accessible. See this guide for the best practice approach.

Meeting this initial criterion is a really important step to ensuring you are ranked well for page performance.  

So what’s changing on June 2021? 

Google announced in May 2020 that it will be introducing core web vitals to supplement its existing page experience algorithm for website ranking. This adds another layer of page performance metrics that web developers and website owners need to familiarise themselves with in order to gain the best SEO score possible for their site.  

The additional criteria (as defined by Google) consists of the following;  

 

Example of page speed insights tool

  • Largest contentful paint (LCP) – This simply means loading times. A website should aim to load within 2.5 seconds.  
  • First input delay (FID) – This measures interactivity. An FID score of 100 milliseconds or less would be considered a good user experience.  
  • Cumulative layout shift (CLS) – This measures the visual stability of the site. Websites should aim for a CLS score of less than 0.1  

We would recommend benchmarking your existing site with the Googles page speed insights tool and look to make the suggested improvements ahead of June 2021. This will ensure that your website is not at a disadvantage when the new algorithm is formally introduced.  

I’ve made the changes, am I finished?  

Well, we hate to say it, but no. There are many more tips and tricks available to web developers and hosting providers that can increase page performance and again increase overall SEO score as a result. These changes will help you to meet the criteria above.   

Reduce re-directs This is a simple one. Each time a user is re-directed to another page, there is a wait time for each jump the user has to make. Negatively impacting the user experience. Where possible, remove these re-directs.  
Compress large files Images and files should only be as large as necessary. A website can very quickly become bloated (and slower!) with large files and images. Be sure to reduce the size as much as possible to keep your site as lean as possible. 
Optimise code Keeping your code clean, I.e. removing any unused code and making sure it contains no unnecessary code, I.e. spaces, commas etc. It will positively impact page speed. 
Quality web hosting This will ensure that your site has the resource required to run as quickly and efficiently as possible. A website on a shared hosting instance with an HDD is going to run much slower than a dedicated instance with an SSD. Make sure your host has your back.  
Enable CDN  CDN (content delivery network) caches content on the edge of your web hosts network. Basically, this reduces the performance penalty users of your site receive when they are far away from your hosting server.  This means where ever someone is in the world; they will be able to access your content quickly. A good web host will offer this functionality.
Steps to help improve your websites performance and SEO

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