4 Page Speed Tactics To Improve Technical SEO

Improve Technical SEO Using Page Speed Tactics
Search engine optimization (SEO) is increasingly becoming the main focus of many e-Commerce and startup websites. With its large impact on a site’s authority, traffic, ranking in SERPs like Google, and a number of other important components, SEO is pertinent to understand when conducting a successful site. SEO is composed of several different segments, all of equal importance to your site’s success. Technical SEO, specifically, comprises the “behind-the-scenes” parts of a website that help it operate effectively. Page speed is arguably one of the largest and most relevant components of the technical SEO of a site.

It is necessary to address page speed very early on in the setup of your website given that it can negatively affect and even eliminate all your site’s traffic and engagement if it’s not properly optimized. Most commonly, a site’s page speed is tracked through Google’s PageSpeed Insights (PSI) tool, which crawls your entire site and creates a report with a page speed score and recommendations on what you can improve. Essentially, it is the goal of any website to lower its page speeds as much as possible. To achieve and improve your site’s overall technical SEO, there are a number of things that you can do.

1. Prioritize Your Type Of Hosting

In order to set up your site, you will likely need some form of hosting. Depending on your site’s needs, there are a number of hosting platforms available to choose from. While you may believe that you found a host that matches your content and e-Commerce needs, you’ll want to be sure the hosting platform has the necessary capabilities to hold everything you plan to include on your site. Its inability to efficiently hold everything on your site can drastically increase the amount of time it takes to load the pages on your site.

The common hosting options are:
  • Shared server hosting
  • VPS Hosting
  • Dedicated server hosting

By its name, we know a shared hosting platform does just that, shares the server with other websites using the platform. While this may be ideal in price and convenience when you are first setting up your site, it can create quite a bit of difficulty for you as your site begins to grow. Commonly, shared server hosting sites experience difficulty loading when a large number of users are trying to access the site at once; which, of course, is a common occurrence for high authority sites. If you are planning to have a large audience and following in the future, start preparing for it now. Opt for a VPS or dedicated hosting service. In comparison to shared hosting, VPS and dedicated servers offer some or completely exclusive server resources that a shared server does not. A common analogy used to compare the three is the difference between living in an apartment, condo, or house. A shared server is much like an apartment, meaning you have to share all resources with the other tenants in the building which can cause processes to take longer. However, if you live in a condo, you may only have to share some aspects with other tenants while some are exclusive to your specific condo, similar to a VPS server. With a house, like a dedicated server, you have complete control over your resources and they’re all exclusive to you. Meaning you eliminate the extra time it takes to share resources with other homeowners (websites). In essence, the more exclusive resources that are offered by your server, the quicker your page speeds can be.

To improve your site’s page speed and plan for maximum growth in the future, it may be within your best interest to host your site on a VPS or dedicated server. Even if you aren’t using all of the available resources right away, it leaves plenty of room for you to do so. Plus, your page speeds and user experiences won’t be impacted in the process.

2. Minify Page Files

Minifying, or lessening the size of, your pages’ files can be a great help in improving page speed, especially since the files are the main cause of slow loading times. This process can be useful for everything from images on the page, to the large CSS and JavaScript files. With CSS and JavaScript files, it’s very likely that there are symbols, characters, and spaces that you don’t necessarily need within the file for the page to function properly. In those cases, minifying will completely eliminate the useless characters and find ways to lessen the size of the necessary documents within the page. Doing this can offer a huge boost to your overall page speed.

3. Try Different Loading Tactics

Another great way to improve upon your site’s page speed is to tweak some of the loading methods on your site. When you click on a page, there are a number of files, plugins, and images that the page is simultaneously trying to load and they ultimately add to the entire page’s load time. To combat this, try the below methods to improve your page speed:
  • Defer Loading
  • Asynchronous Loading
  • Lazy Loading

Deferred loading is allowing non-essential components of the page to load after the main content of the page. This can include images, footer text, and widgets, or even entire JavaScript files. This is a great way to allow your audience to see all important content immediately and load other elements of the page as they become available. Luckily, to a user, it will likely not be noticeable that certain parts of the page have been deferred.

Similarly to deferred loading, asynchronous loading allows you to load large files like CSS or JavaScript, one by one. By default, many sites will load their files synchronously, which forms an issue because the page is trying to load many large files all at the same time. This is where asynchronous loading is beneficial. Most site developers will opt for this over deferred loading and only use deferred if asynchronous isn’t available. However, a disadvantage to this in comparison to deferred loading comes when you have several JavaScript files that depend on one another to load. This will present an issue because when CSS and JavaScript files are loaded asynchronously, they are not necessarily loaded in the order specified in the file. So if you have several elements of your CSS of JavaScript files that depend on each other to load correctly, deferred loading may be more beneficial to you.

Lastly, lazy loading has always been a favorite when it comes to improving page speeds. It, too, is very similar to deferred and asynchronous loading, however, it loads certain files only when they are within the view of the consumer. Commonly, this type of loading is used with images on a page. Instead of the page needing to load all the images that the user can’t yet see, it waits until that user scrolls down to a particular image, and then it loads. Not only does this help to improve the site’s page speed, but it has a minute impact on the user experience.

If you have your own site developer, they will be able to assist you in deferring, asynchronously loading, and lazy loading your files on a page. However, if you are managing your own site, on a WordPress platform, for example, there are a number of plugins available that will offer these loading options in a user-friendly way.

4. Include A Trail Slash

Although it may be seen as a small component of technical SEO, trail slashing can be one of the parts of page speed that ultimately, helps to make a difference. A trailing slash is the final forward-slash you see at the end of a URL. Without it, your website server will first look for a file on the page with the same name as the URL. Since it will not find one, it will then assume the page is a directory and continue to look for that file within the page’s directory. Although it takes a very small amount of time for the server to do this, it will cause your site to unnecessarily redirect to a 301 page. By adding a forward-slash to the end of your URL, you can eliminate this process completely and allow for faster page speed.

While these are just a few of the hundreds of changes you can make to your site to boost and improve page speed, the combination of them with other tactics, will certainly show an improvement. Your page speed times will lessen and you may see more traffic and engagement on your site because of it. Not only that, but these small changes you make in your page speed will improve the technical side of your SEO as well. This, in return, can better your sites’ authority and ranking.

AUTHOR_NAMEAbout the Author:
Marie Johnson is a tech writer for the technology magazine Enlightened Digital. She also works as a UX designer for a major tech company based out of New York. With her passion for writing and years of experience in the field of technology, she now enjoys combining the two worlds and sharing her knowledge and tips with the online tech community.
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