One of the most important areas of website performance is speed. Google places a lot of emphasis on the speed of a website. Your consumer needs to be able to find information on your product fast, and will go elsewhere if your website is not up-to-scratch. Page load speed affects the bottom line, and 79% of shoppers will look for another store if they do have trouble with website performance. We’ve all heard how Amazon can lose up to $1 billion in sales due to an extra second on website speed. Therefore, website optimisation is crucial to your SEO strategy.
Google Page Insights is an excellent tool for analysing your website performance and, subsequently, how to improve speed to your e-commerce store. While Google Page Insights provides an excellent indication of website speed, we use other tools to identify delays.
Tools to Analyse Page Speed
Pingdom and GT Metrix provide further information on any potential issues and bottlenecks, when paired with Google Page Insights. For those with a UK server, both tools give a good picture as to how long a particular page takes to load from different geographical areas. Pingdom should return a quicker load time, as the server they test is based in Stockholm. GT Metrix, on the other hand, is based in Vancouver. However, their results are invaluable for your SEO strategy, with a report detailing the problem areas and how to fix them. Likewise, the benefits of both tools are that they issue a breakdown of the files taking the longest to load, so you can reduce those file sizes or improve the code within. Plus, they’re free for all users – always a bonus.
How to Improve Speed
After you have run these tools on your website, there are a few areas of improvement (we’re practically giving away our SEO tips).
One of the more common ways to boost website performance is optimising images. There are a couple of different ways to do so, and the first is to ensure all images on the server are the exact size they are pulled through to a specific page. However, the second option is the more practical of the two. Each image on your site will have metadata attached, increasing the file size. However, if you strip away this data, you can significantly reduce the file sizes. Across 100 images on your site, for example, this will result in a dramatic reduction in the size of data transferred from the server to user’s browser.
Content Delivery Networks (CDN)
If you don’t have a degree in computer networking, sit down with a cuppa. Basically, the way a CDN works is that it has servers all around the world, taking a copy of the data on your site and storing it on those servers. When someone searches for one of your products, for example, the CDN determines the nearest resource to their location, serving the data from that location. If you’re from the UK and attempting to access a website with a server located in Australia, it’s a given it needs time to load. With a CDN in place, your consumers will be served a copy of the website located closer to them, improving your website speed.
Another one for the SEO strategy that is relatively straightforward. All servers have something called gzip compression on them. You may even be able to do this yourself, but we recommend discussing it with your tech team to enable it on the server. Basically, gzip will compress the size of the files requested from the server, speeding up page load.
Ultimately, the more you can do, the better your website. Fixing all errors isn’t always possible, but the above suggestions are a good start. You can even get in touch with one of our (good-looking) team regarding our SEO services and what we can do to improve your website optimisation.