SEO and Page Speed – Five Easy Ways to Improve Web Page Load Times

SEO and Page Speed - Five Easy Ways to Improve Web Page Load Times

Improving Web Page load times is important to keep existing visitors on a website as well as to encourage visitors to revisit. It is also often mentioned in various Search Engine Optimization guidance that Search Engines may use page load times as part of their ranking algorithms.

Fortunately, for most web sites, there are a few activities that may be undertaken which will greatly improve page load performance. Described below are five factors that will improve page load speeds.

1. Check that your HTML is valid

Although many of the latest generation web browsers are good at providing accurate workarounds for invalid or badly constructed HTML, it still consumes time and resources when HTML is incorrectly constructed. It is always a good idea to use an HTML validation utility on your web pages (use Search Engine to find one of the many free online HTML validators).

Please note also that HTML, as provided when saving to HTML from some Microsoft applications, is NOT fully valid HTML. If, for example, you save a document in Microsoft Word 2003 using the ‘save as’ – ‘Web Page’ then your HTML will be invalid.

2. JavaScript

There are many guidelines for the correct formatting of JavaScript to ensure optimum speed. This recommendation, however, is concerned with where the JavaScript is placed within the web page itself.

For many scripts, it is irrelevant where on the page they are placed. Placing the script just before the closing body tag usually ensures faster page loading times. A very common script is the Google Analytics script used on millions of web pages. As this script invokes JavaScript from Google to track page visits it is irrelevant where on the page the script appears. By having the script near the top of the body section means that all visitors have to wait for the script to run before the full web page is displayed. By placing the script at the end of the body section ensures that the page loads and only then does the script run.

3. Image Size

Always use images with as small a file size as practicable. Large file sized images take more time to load than small ones. There are various ways of reducing image file sizes including using different image formats (e.g. .gif instead of .jpeg) and reduced resolution. There is also a multitude of free online image compressors and other tools. There is, of course, a trade-off between file size and image quality.

4. Stylesheets (CSS Files)

There are four guidelines about Stylesheets and page load times:

  • CSS should be held/defined in an external file on the local server.
  • The external Stylesheet should be referenced from each web page.
  • The link to the CSS file from the web pages should be in the head section of each page.
  • If the CSS file is large then compress the CSS file with GZIP (try to avoid large CSS files where possible).
  • Some knowledge of CSS is necessary to use CSS most effectively and it is highly recommended to be familiar with CSS and its usage.

5. Reduce HTTP Requests

Reducing the number of HTTP requests reduces page load times. HTTP requests do not need to be extensively understood nor analyzed to perform some basic best practices to reduce the number of requests from any web page. To reduce the number of HTTP requests always try to do the following; combine multiple images into a single image (although the final image file size may be as large as the combined smaller files, the number of HTTP requests will be reduced), combine multiple Stylesheets into a single file and combine Javascript or PHP into as few files as possible.

Welcome Faster Page Load Speed

Above are five basics to improve page load speed performance. Load times of pages are necessary for effective SEO and are the basic best practice of web page design and development.

Source by Gary Eckstein

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