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How To Increase Website Speed And Improve SEO: 11 Essential Tips

How To Increase Website Speed And Improve SEO

Do you remember the days of 2G internet when downloading anything felt like watching paint dry? Pages took forever to load. But now, in the era of 5G and with our goldfish-like attention spans, no one has the patience to wait for a slow-loading page.

In today’s fast-paced world, speed isn’t just a luxury—it’s a necessity. If you want your website to perform well, attract visitors, and generate leads, it needs to be fast.

In this article, we’ll discuss why speed is crucial and share tips to make your website lightning fast. 

Let’s get started…

How Website Speed is Related to SEO

Website speed is crucial for SEO. John Mueller from Google has emphasized the importance of speed by stating, “Page speed is critical for user experience and SEO. It’s a significant factor in how users engage with your site and how Google ranks it”​​.

Google uses Core Web Vitals to measure user experience and rank websites. These metrics are:

  • Largest Contentful Paint (LCP): LCP measures how long it takes for the main content of a page to load. Aim for LCP within 2.5 seconds. A slow LCP can frustrate users and make them leave your site.
  • Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS): CLS measures the visual stability of your page. Aim for a CLS score of less than 0.1. A high CLS score means elements on your page move around too much, which annoys users.
  • Interaction to Next Paint (INP): INP tracks how quickly your site responds to user interactions, like clicks. It has replaced the First Input Delay (FID) metric. Aim for an INP of less than 200 milliseconds. A fast INP means users can interact with your site without delays.

core web vitals 2024

Why Do These Metrics Matter?

These metrics impact how users experience your site. Google prioritizes sites that offer a good user experience. If your site meets these benchmarks, it will rank higher on search engines, meaning more people will find and visit your site.

Real-World Impact:

Fast-loading and stable sites keep users happy. Happy users stay longer, explore more pages, and are more likely to convert. For example, if your site’s LCP is slow, users might leave before the main content loads. If your site’s CLS is high, users might get frustrated with shifting elements and leave. A fast INP ensures users can interact with your site smoothly.

As noted by Moz, page speed directly impacts SEO rankings because it affects user behavior. Slow pages lead to higher bounce rates and lower user engagement, harming your SEO efforts. Fast-loading sites improve user satisfaction and engagement, leading to better rankings and increased traffic.

In summary, meeting Google’s Core Web Vitals is essential for achieving better search engine rankings and providing a great user experience.

Tips To Increase Website Speed

Now that you know how vital website speed is for SEO. Let’s get into actionable steps. Improving website speed involves several strategies. Each one tackles a different aspect of web performance. Here are essential tips to make your site faster and more efficient.

1. Optimize Images and Lazy Loading

Images enhance a website’s look but can slow it down. Here’s how to optimize images and implement lazy loading to improve site speed:

Compress Images

Large images slow down your site. Use tools like TinyPNG or Squoosh to shrink image sizes without losing quality.

Choose the Right File Format

Select the best format. Use PNGs for graphics with fewer colors and JPEGs for photos. WebP offers better compression and quality but may not work on all browsers.

Implement Lazy Loading

Lazy loading delays loading images until needed, improving speed and user experience. Use HTML attributes like loading=”lazy” in img tags or JavaScript libraries like lazysizes.

HTML
<img src=”image.jpg” loading=”lazy” alt=”Description”>

Resize Images Appropriately

Avoid using images larger than necessary. Use “srcset” in HTML to provide different sizes for different devices.

srcset-example-code

Image source: cloudfour.com 

Use CSS Sprites

Combine frequently used images like icons and buttons into one file using CSS sprites. This reduces the number of HTTP requests, leading to faster load times.

Optimize Images for Mobile

Ensure images are optimized for smaller screens and slower networks. Tools like Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test can help you check this.

By following these steps, you can significantly improve your website’s loading speed and user experience.

2. Enable Browser Caching

Browser caching stores static files from your website on a visitor’s device. When they return, the browser loads these cached files instead of downloading them again. This makes your site load much faster.

Why is browser caching important? 

Caching reduces the load on your server and speeds up page load times for returning visitors. Faster load times improve user experience and boost SEO rankings.

How to enable browser caching

  • Set Cache-Control Headers: Add Cache-Control headers to your HTTP response to tell browsers how long to cache files. For example:
<filesMatch “\.(html|css|js|jpg|png|gif|svg|ico)$”>
Header set Cache-Control “max-age=31536000, public”
</filesMatch>

This means the browser will cache these file types for one year.

  • Use the .htaccess File: If you use an Apache server, add caching rules to your .htaccess file:
# Cache Images
<filesMatch “\.(jpg|jpeg|png|gif|ico)$”>
ExpiresDefault “access plus 1 year”
</filesMatch># Cache CSS and JavaScript
<filesMatch “\.(css|js)$”>
ExpiresDefault “access plus 1 month”
</filesMatch>
  • Leverage Browser Caching Plugins: For WordPress sites, use plugins like W3 Total Cache or WP Rocket. These plugins make it easy to enable caching and offer extra performance boosts.
  • Set Expiration Dates: Specify how long browsers should keep files before checking for updates:
<ifModule mod_expires.c>
ExpiresActive On
ExpiresByType image/jpg “access plus 1 year”
ExpiresByType image/jpeg “access plus 1 year”
ExpiresByType image/gif “access plus 1 year”
ExpiresByType image/png “access plus 1 year”
ExpiresByType text/css “access plus 1 month”
ExpiresByType application/javascript “access plus 1 month”
</ifModule>
  • Check Your Caching: Use tools like GTmetrix and Google PageSpeed Insights to see if caching is working. These tools also suggest improvements.

By enabling browser caching, your site will load faster for returning visitors. This improves their experience and helps your SEO rankings.

3. Choose a Reliable Hosting Control Panel

A reliable hosting control panel is key to speeding up your website. It helps manage resources and optimize performance. Here’s how it can help:

  • Advanced Caching: Good control panels have built-in caching. This stores copies of your site’s files, reducing server load and speeding up your site.
  • Resource Management: Efficiently manage bandwidth, disk space, and memory. This ensures your site runs smoothly, even during high traffic periods.
  • User-Friendly Interface: An easy-to-use interface helps you monitor and improve your site’s performance. You can make necessary changes without needing advanced technical skills.
  • Security Features: Integrated security features like firewalls and SSL certificates protect your site. A secure site is trusted by users and search engines.
  • Regular Updates: Frequent updates keep your hosting environment optimized and secure. This helps maintain high performance and reliability.

cyberpanel-dashboard

Using a reliable hosting control panel enhances your website’s speed and efficiency. This keeps users happy and improves your search engine rankings.

4. Minimize HTTP Requests

When a user visits your website, their browser makes multiple requests to load files like images, scripts, and stylesheets. The more requests, the longer it takes for the page to load. Here’s how to minimize HTTP requests and speed up your site:

  • Combine Files: Combine multiple CSS and JavaScript files into one. This reduces the number of requests the browser needs to make. Tools like Autoptimize and WP Rocket can help with this.
  • Reduce Plugins: Too many plugins can increase HTTP requests. Deactivate and delete any plugins you don’t need. Only keep essential plugins that add value to your site. Regularly review your plugins to ensure they are necessary and optimized.
  • Avoid Redirects: Each redirect creates additional HTTP requests. Minimize the use of redirects to speed up your site. Use tools like Screaming Frog to identify and eliminate unnecessary redirects.
  • Load Scripts Asynchronously: Load JavaScript files asynchronously to prevent them from blocking the rendering of the page. Use the async or defer attributes in your script tags to achieve this. This allows the browser to continue parsing the HTML while the script is being fetched.

asynchronous loading- skiplevel.co

Image source: skiplevel.co

5. Use a Content Delivery Network (CDN)

Image source: wallarm.com

A Content Delivery Network (CDN) is a group of servers distributed around the world. It stores copies of your website’s files and delivers them to users from the nearest server. This speeds up load times and improves user experience. Here’s how a CDN can help:

Faster Load Times

CDNs reduce the distance data travels, speeding up the time it takes for users to access your site. For example, if a user in Europe accesses a website hosted in the US, a CDN will deliver the content from a European server, making the load time much quicker.

Improved Reliability

CDNs distribute traffic across multiple servers, reducing the risk of downtime due to server overload. This ensures your site remains accessible even during high-traffic periods.

Better Security

CDNs often provide security features like DDoS protection, adding an extra layer of security to your site. This helps protect your site from malicious attacks that can slow down or crash your server.

Lower Bandwidth Costs

CDNs can reduce the amount of data your origin server needs to send, saving on bandwidth costs. Since the CDN handles most of the data transfer, your server uses less bandwidth.

Global Reach

CDNs have a wide network of servers around the world. This means your site will load quickly for users regardless of their geographical location.

Popular CDN Providers:

  • Cloudflare: Cloudflare is a popular CDN that offers a free plan along with advanced security features. It provides global coverage and improves site performance by caching content close to your users​​ .
  • Amazon CloudFront: Amazon CloudFront is a powerful CDN integrated with Amazon Web Services. It offers high performance, security, and scalability for websites and applications​​ .
  • KeyCDN: KeyCDN is a cost-effective CDN service that focuses on simplicity and high performance. It provides real-time analytics and easy integration with various platforms​​.

6. Optimize CSS and JavaScript

Optimizing your CSS and JavaScript files is crucial for speeding up your website. Here’s how you can do it effectively:

Minify CSS and JavaScript:

Minification removes unnecessary characters like spaces, comments, and line breaks from your code. This makes the files smaller and faster to load.

Tools for Minification:

  • Autoptimize: This WordPress plugin aggregates, minifies, and caches scripts and styles, injects CSS in the page head by default, and moves and defers scripts to the footer.
  • WP Rocket: A powerful caching and performance optimization plugin that includes options for minifying CSS and JavaScript.
  • UglifyJS: A JavaScript tool that compresses JavaScript files to reduce their size and improve loading speed.
  • CSSNano: A CSS minifier that reduces the size of your CSS files, making them faster to load.

Combine Files:

Combine multiple CSS and JavaScript files into one. This reduces the number of HTTP requests and speeds up load times.

Inline Critical CSS:

Inline the critical CSS needed for the initial page load directly in the HTML. This reduces the render-blocking resources and speeds up the initial load time.

By optimizing your CSS and JavaScript, you can significantly improve your website’s speed and performance.

7. Compress Files

Compressing your files reduces their size and speeds up your website. Smaller files load faster and use less bandwidth. Here’s how to use Gzip and Brotli for compression:

Use Gzip:

Gzip is a widely used compression method that reduces the size of your HTML, CSS, and JavaScript files.

How to Enable Gzip:

.htaccess File (Apache Servers): Add the following code to your .htaccess file to enable Gzip compression.

apache
<IfModule mod_deflate.c>
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE text/html
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE text/css
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/javascript
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE text/xml
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/xml
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/rss+xml
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/atom+xml
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE image/svg+xml
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/font-woff
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/font-woff2
</IfModule>

Nginx Servers: Add the following code to your Nginx configuration file.

nginx

gzip on; gzip_types text/plain text/css application/json application/javascript text/xml application/xml application/xml+rss text/javascript; gzip_vary on; gzip_min_length 256;

Use Brotli:

Brotli is a newer compression algorithm that offers better compression rates than Gzip.

How to Enable Brotli:

.htaccess File (Apache Servers): Add the following code to your .htaccess file to enable Brotli compression.

apache

<IfModule mod_brotli.c>
AddOutputFilterByType BROTLI_COMPRESS text/html
AddOutputFilterByType BROTLI_COMPRESS text/css
AddOutputFilterByType BROTLI_COMPRESS application/javascript
AddOutputFilterByType BROTLI_COMPRESS text/xml
AddOutputFilterByType BROTLI_COMPRESS application/xml
AddOutputFilterByType BROTLI_COMPRESS application/rss+xml
AddOutputFilterByType BROTLI_COMPRESS application/atom+xml
AddOutputFilterByType BROTLI_COMPRESS image/svg+xml
AddOutputFilterByType BROTLI_COMPRESS application/font-woff
AddOutputFilterByType BROTLI_COMPRESS application/font-woff2
</IfModule>

Nginx Servers: Add the following code to your Nginx configuration file.

nginx

brotli on; brotli_types text/plain text/css application/json application/javascript text/xml application/xml application/xml+rss text/javascript; brotli_comp_level 6;

Verify Compression:

Use tools like GIDNetwork or Google PageSpeed Insights to verify that compression is working.

By compressing your files with Gzip or Brotli, you can significantly reduce load times and improve your website’s performance.

8. Reduce Redirects

Redirects can slow down your website by adding extra HTTP requests. Minimizing these can significantly improve your site’s speed. Here’s how to manage and reduce redirects effectively:

Why Reduce Redirects?

Each redirect creates an additional HTTP request, which increases the time it takes for the browser to load the page. Fewer redirects mean faster load times and a better user experience.

Keep Only Essential Redirects

Ensure that you only use redirects when absolutely necessary. For example, use redirects when you change the URL structure of your site or move to a new domain. Unnecessary redirects should be removed.

Use Direct Links

Always link directly to the final URL, not through intermediate redirects. This practice reduces the number of HTTP requests and speeds up page load times.

Update Internal Links

Regularly audit and update your internal links to ensure they point directly to the final destination, avoiding any redirect chains.

Avoid Redirect Chains and Loops:

A redirect chain occurs when there are multiple redirects between the initial URL and the final destination. A redirect loop is when URLs redirect in a circular pattern. Both should be avoided as they severely impact load times.

Tools for Managing Redirects:

  • Screaming Frog: This tool can help you identify and analyze redirects on your site. It’s useful for finding redirect chains and loops.
  • Ahrefs Site Audit: Ahrefs provides a comprehensive site audit tool that highlights issues related to redirects, allowing you to fix them efficiently.
  • Google Search Console: Use the coverage report to find and fix redirect issues.

page redirect- GSC

How to Fix Redirect Issues:

  1. Identify Redirects: Use the tools mentioned above to find all redirects on your site.
  2. Update Links: Change links to point directly to the final URL.
  3. Remove Unnecessary Redirects: Eliminate any redirects that are no longer needed.
  4. Test Your Site: Use tools like GTmetrix and Google PageSpeed Insights to ensure there are no unnecessary redirects slowing down your site.

9. Use a Premium DNS Service

Switching to a premium DNS service can speed up your website by enhancing server response times. Here’s how it helps:

Why Use a Premium DNS Service? 

A premium DNS provider reduces latency, making your site load faster. It also offers better security and reliability compared to free DNS services.

Benefits:

  • Improved Speed: Premium DNS providers have global networks with multiple servers, which speed up DNS resolution times.
  • Higher Reliability: These services ensure your site remains accessible even during high-traffic times.
  • Enhanced Security: Features like DDoS protection safeguard your site against attacks that can slow it down.

Top Providers:

  • Cloudflare: Cloudflare’s DNS service is fast and secure, offering DDoS protection and global load balancing.
  • Google Cloud DNS: Google Cloud DNS provides low latency and high availability, making it a solid choice for businesses.
  • Amazon Route 53: Amazon Route 53 is reliable and scalable, offering a cost-effective way to route end users to your site.

How to Switch:

  1. Choose a Provider: Select a premium DNS provider.
  2. Update DNS Settings: Log in to your domain registrar and update the DNS settings.
  3. Verify Changes: Use tools like DNS Checker to ensure the changes are correct.

By switching to a premium DNS service, you can boost your website’s speed and reliability, providing a better experience for your users.

10. Fix 404 Errors

google 404 page

404 errors occur when a user tries to access a page that doesn’t exist. These errors not only frustrate users but also slow down your website. Here’s how to fix them:

Why Fix 404 Errors? 

Broken links create a poor user experience and can negatively impact your SEO. Fixing these errors helps maintain a smooth browsing experience and improves site performance.

Steps to Fix 404 Errors:

  • Identify Broken Links: Use tools like Google Search Console and Screaming Frog to find 404 errors on your site. These tools scan your site and report any broken links.
  • Redirect Broken Pages: Set up 301 redirects to guide users from broken pages to working ones. This can be done using your website’s .htaccess file (for Apache servers) or through your CMS.

Example:

apache

Redirect 301 /old-page /new-page
  • Monitor Regularly: Regularly check your site for 404 errors. Tools like Ahrefs Site Audit and SEMrush can help you monitor and maintain your site’s health.

Best Practices:

  • Custom 404 Page: Create a custom 404 page to guide users back to your site. Include links to popular pages or a search bar to help users find what they need.

custom 404 page - pixar

  • Update Internal Links: Ensure all internal links point to the correct URLs. Update any outdated or broken links to improve user experience and site performance.

By fixing 404 errors, you can improve your website’s speed and user experience, keeping visitors engaged and satisfied.

11. Reduce Third-Party Scripts

Third-party scripts add functionality to your website, like social media buttons, analytics, and ads. However, they can also slow down your site by increasing load times. Limiting these scripts can improve your site’s performance.

Why Reduce Third-Party Scripts?

Each third-party script adds additional HTTP requests and can slow down your page load times. Managing and reducing these scripts helps your site load faster and provides a better user experience.

Steps to Reduce Third-Party Scripts:

  • Audit Your Scripts: Identify all the third-party scripts on your site. Use tools like Google Tag Manager and Ghostery to see which scripts are loading and assess their necessity.
  • Prioritize Essential Scripts: Keep only the essential third-party scripts. Ask yourself if each script adds significant value to your website. Remove any that are not crucial.
  • Defer Non-Critical Scripts: Defer the loading of non-critical scripts until after the main content has loaded. This ensures the primary content loads first, improving perceived load times.

html

<script src=”script.js” defer></script>

  • Use Lightweight Alternatives: If possible, replace heavy third-party scripts with lighter alternatives. For example, use a simple share button script instead of a full social media SDK.
  • Regular Monitoring: Regularly review the performance impact of your third-party scripts. Use tools like Google PageSpeed Insights and GTmetrix to monitor your site’s speed and identify scripts that slow it down.
  • Limit the Use of Tags: If you use tag management systems like Google Tag Manager, ensure you are not overloading your site with too many tags. Simplify and consolidate where possible.

By reducing third-party scripts, you can significantly improve your website’s loading speed and overall performance.

Conclusion

Following this checklist will help you make your website faster. This means better user experience and higher search engine rankings. Happy optimizing!

Use a reliable hosting control panel like CyberPanel. It helps make your website faster and easier to manage.

For more help with visibility, trust Outreach Monks. Our link-building services can boost your SEO, bringing more visitors to your site. Contact us today to learn how we can help you reach your digital marketing goals!

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I reduce the impact of third-party tracking scripts on my website speed?

Limit the use of these scripts. Load them asynchronously so they don't block the page. Use a tag manager like Google Tag Manager to control when they load.

What role does DNS play in website speed, and how can I optimize it?

DNS resolution affects how quickly your site connects. Use a premium DNS service to make this process faster and reduce wait times.

How can optimizing database queries improve my site’s performance?

Speed up dynamic content by indexing your database and removing unnecessary queries. This makes data retrieval quicker and your site faster.

What are the benefits of using HTTP/2 over HTTP/1.1 for website speed?

HTTP/2 allows multiple files to load at once over one connection. This reduces wait times and speeds up your site.

How does enabling server-side caching differ from browser caching, and what are its benefits?

Server-side caching saves dynamic content as static files on the server. This reduces load times, especially for busy sites, because the server doesn't need to recreate content for every visitor.

Ekta Chauhan

Ekta Chauhan

Ekta is a seasoned link builder at Outreach Monks with six years in the digital marketing trenches, specializing in the SaaS niche. Professionally, she’s a wizard at navigating multiple niches with finesse. On the personal side, despite her calm and quiet nature, don't be fooled—Ekta's creativity means she’s probably plotting to take over the world.

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