In 2010, Google announced that website loading speed is one of the most important factors when it comes to SEO. People are likely to leave your site if it takes too long to load. The same applies to responsiveness. More and more people perform searches on their mobile phones nowadays. If your site does not show up well on the smaller screen, people are likely to drop it. There are a few things you may want to check if you noticed that your website takes longer than expected to load.
What counts for Google and why?
Google considers many factors while assessing whether to put your website in the top position of its search engine. I believe that content is one of the most crucial determinants. If your blog is about fashion and style, you should be using keywords that are relevant to it. These are, for example, women clothes, fashion designer, fashion week, style and more. Your content needs to match the general topic of your website. Otherwise, it will create confusion to Google. Things like punctuation, grammar, spelling, and vocabulary play an important role too. Whenever someone links to your site, the so-called backlink is created. If Google sees that someone recommends your website, it automatically trusts your content, especially when the backlink comes from an authority site. Moreover, freshness and consistency often tell if the information you provide is up to date. Google does not like the old content. Check the SEO guide for more details on how to increase your Google rankings.
What is so special about speed?
Recently many people talk about UX or user experience. What is it and how it relates to Google rankings? Well, Google wants to create the best possible experience for their customers. UX is user experience design. It is to improve user interaction with a digital or physical product by making it easy to use, functional and delightful to interact with. So, the time when your website loads can either decrease or increase the satisfaction of your customer. If it takes too long to load, a visitor will check your competitor out. Google also compares websites against each other and puts higher those that load faster. A study shows that about 75% of people will not browse your page again if it takes more than 4 seconds to load.
How to increase your website’s loading speed?
A couple of things count when it comes to loading speed. First of all, consider using a reputable hosting service. Why should you? Whenever a user wants to access your page, they are accessing files from a web server. If that web server is not fast enough, it will affect the website’s speed. Next thing is images. Make sure your media are well-optimized for your site. Also, the actual weight of the picture does not diminish when you resize it in your WordPress dashboard. Whenever someone opens your page, the browser loads the image in its actual dimensions first and then resizes it to the weight and height set by you in the dashboard. Poorly coded templates or sites will not load fast either. Make sure your code is clean, optimize your images and use reputable hosting service. It will make you far better than your competitors.
What other changes can you make to improve the speed?
How can you leverage browser caching?
There are some ways available to you. If you are a WordPress user, there are some plugins that you can use such as Cache Enabler, WP Super Cache or WP Fastest Cache. If you do not want to install another plugin on your WordPress site, then you will have to localize your .htaccess file. Where should you look for it? If you have a hosting account, log in there. Next, look for cPanel and click on it. In your cPanel open File Manager. Try to find the .htaccess file there. If you cannot see it, type in its name in the search box. It should show up. If it does not, it means you do not have it and need to create one. Click on +File icon and type in its name. You should save the file in the /public_html/ or the document root of your site. Once done, copy and paste the code that tells browsers what to cache and for how long. Also, you may consider enabling gzip compression for WordPress. You can do it either by editing the .htaccess file or installing a plugin.
If you want to rank higher in Google searches, you need to optimize your website. After you did all the above-mentioned changes, simply run GT Metrix test and find out how your site scores in the speed test. The result you want to see is either A or B. Also, bear in mind that installing too many plugins may not be a good idea, and it can eventually lead to the website crash, or it may affect the performance and speed.