Page Speed Optimization – How Fast is Your Site

Page Speed Optimization is a very important part of your overall online SEO (Search Engine Optimization) efforts. In fact, Google themselves have even said that it is one of the major factors in their complex page ranking algorithm! In addition to improving your page rank, improving your Page Speed score will also resonate well with your users. Research shows that pages with slow load times have a much higher bounce rate than those that load faster. Let’s explore both where to find your Page Speed score as well as some steps you can take to improve it.

Where to Find Your Page Speed Score

Many of our web customers have asked us “how fast is my site?”. To answer this, we always turn to the free web tool known as GTMetrix. GTMetrix will provide you with two different Page Speed scores called PageSpeed and YSlow. To use the tool simply input your URL into the search bar and click “Analyze”. After the tool is finished analyzing your site it’ll spit back a couple of scores that look like this:

Steps to Improve Your Page Speed Score

If you don’t like the scores provided to you by GTMetrix, then don’t fret! There are a few things you can do right away to improve those speeds. The most important things to fix if you have a less-than-desired Page Speed score include:
  • Compress your larger files
  • Optimize and compress your images
  • Leverage browser caching
  • Minify code

Compress Your Larger Files

The first step to improving your Page Speed score is to compress any CSS, HTML, and JavaScript file on your site that are larger than 150 bytes in size. To do this use a tool like Gzip. This reduces the response times which improve your overall Page Speed score. *NOTE – Do NOT use Gzip to compress images and videos. This will remove any control you have over the final product!

Optimize Your Images

Like we talked about when we said to compress some larger files, you will also need to do this with images. However, do not use the same tool (Gzip) to do so. Instead, use something like Photoshop or GIMP for this as it gives you more granular control of the final product. Also, make sure that the correct file types are used for the correct types of images. Generally, you want to use JPG files for photographs and complex images, and you’ll want to use PNG files for graphics and objects with fewer than 16 colors. There are also SVG images and a few other filetypes, but generally, you’ll want to make sure that the majority of your site uses JPG, PNG, or SVG filetypes for images. You can also use CSS spritesheets to create a template for images you use often (like icons and buttons). This allows you to combine all your frequently used images into a single file that all loads at once, then you can simply display (using CSS) the part of the larger image that you wish. This will cut down on HTTP requests to your server and improve Page Speed scores.

Leverage Your Browser Caching

Leveraging your browser caching means limiting the amount of time your website tells any given browser to cache (store) information for quick loading. To do this simply set your “expires” header to a different timeframe. The standard cache expiration rate is one year.

Minify Your HTML, CSS, and JavaScript

To Minify your code, reduce thee nubmer of uneceessary bits by removing redundant characters, unecessary spaces, extra commas, unecessary comments, and any unused code. This shouldn’t be done manually. In fact, Google themselves have recommended the following tools to help you on your quest to minifying your code:

Too Much? Contact the Page Speed Optimization Experts at Goldstein-Brossard Today!

If all of this sounds too technical or complicated to you (or you simply don’t want to deal with it), then you can always contact the team of SEO professionals here at Goldstein-Brossard. We’re always available to help you with all your Page Speed optimization needs! Contact us today.