As with any craft, the main tool of the trade you use is an essential ingredient to success. Artists have their brushes, chefs have their prized knives, and we bloggers have our websites.
So making sure that you optimize your site speed for SEO is key.
Today we’ll show you how to analyze your site’s speed and make it faster.
Importance of site speed
You might be wondering, isn’t it enough that I included keywords, designed eye-catching images, and created an awesome website?
While all those things are crucial, slow site speed is harmful for two main reasons:
In a world where people are used to instant gratification, 6 seconds might actually feel like 60. It might sound like a bit of an exaggeration but think about it– when was the last time you waited for more than 2 seconds for a page to load?
Slow site speed plus a sea of content is the perfect combo for readers to bounce off your page.
Google puts a lot of premium on user search experience that’s why they’ve made site speed a direct ranking factor for SEO. Meaning, the slower page load times can hurt your search rankings.
But what are the common factors that slow your site down?
Factors contributing to slow site speed
Here are some common factors that slow down your site that you can easily fix.
A good host will fix your site speed concerns quickly. On the other hand, out-of-the-box hosts (think GoDaddy, HostGator, and BlueHost) would give you the bare minimum you need in the hopes of selling you more bandwidth as you grow.
While these options might make sense if you’re just starting out, be prepared for the costs of either continuously increasing your bandwidth as you grow or moving to a different host altogether.
2. Ad Management Provider
When choosing the right ad company, go with someone that prioritizes site speed. MediaVine for instance, lazy loads ads to ensure that your site speed isn’t affected. One quick note: make sure you don’t change your ad code while doing site speed optimization.
Those little sidebar widgets usually showing your Pinterest or Instagram may actually be doing you more harm than good. How?
They basically load the same image size as the one on your social media, pulls it from there, and then renders it into a smaller image to fit into that tiny widget. While the rest of your content and ads are loading on your page as well.
So unless there are proven trackable benefits from your sidebar widgets (ie new followers), don’t trade off your site speed. Also, note that these sidebars are not visible on mobile.
Lastly, each page on your site that has a sidebar linking back to your social media accounts is counted as an incoming link to these sites. These links signal to Google that these sites are relevant which is sadly why Pinterest and/or Instagram outrank your actual website for your own stuff.
We recommend using ShortPixel when compressing and optimizing your images.
How to find and fix site speed issues
Fret not! You can easily analyze your site’s speed and fix the issues using any of these tools.
1. Google Analytics
Log in to your Google Analytics, click on Behavior. Then click Site Speed, and then Page Timings. This will show your site speed analytics per post in relation to the average speed of your entire site. They will also show a list of issues (red bars) per post and suggestions on how to fix them.
Copy your website’s URL and click Analyze. It will measure site load speed for both Mobile and Desktop on separate tabs.
When you scroll down, you’ll see more issues and suggestions on how to fix each under the Opportunities tab. Click on the drop-down arrows to get more information on the item.
This is obviously a case of “do as we say, not as we do.” LOL! Adding site speed fixing of LTB to our to do list right now!
3. GT Metrix
Similar to PageSpeed Insights, after you copy your site URL it will analyze your site’s speed and along with a list of issues slowing your page down and suggestions to fix it.
GT Metrix provides a comprehensive yet intuitive report. They make it easy to understand how your site is performing at a quick glance while still giving you more granular data in neatly tucked away tabs.
It tells you which images should be compressed and how much space you’ll save if you do so. The best thing is if one of the images is site-wide, you fix one and you basically fix a lot of things on your site! 🙂
Start optimizing your site’s speed
Once you’ve analyzed your site’s speed issues and know how to fix them, you have two strategies on how to optimize your site speed for SEO. You can either start with:
Your Top 10 Posts
Ideally, your top 10 are faster than your site average as these are the posts that are visited the most. If you do decide to start with your top 10 posts now, we highly recommend going back to your top 10 posts last year (or last quarter) and optimizing them as well.
Your posts with the most issues
If not handled, these issues would bring your overall site speed down.
After you’ve laid out all the errors and how to resolve them, you can decide which items you can fix now by yourself versus the ones you’ll need to hire help for.
Improving your site speed for SEO may sound technical but it doesn’t need to be a daunting task. We’ve made it easier for you by creating our Quick Guide to Improve Your Site Speed.
Want to learn more tried-and-tested techniques to grow your blog?
We also give out more tips on Facebook Live over in the Learn to Blog Hangouts group. In order to watch more training videos, make sure to join the private group on FB. If you’re not yet a member, simply request to join– we’d love to meet you there! 🙂