Quick Fixes for Site Load Time (An Often-Overlooked SEO Strategy)
So you’ve finished your website and it’s uh-maz-ing. The creative is perfect, the copy is on point, and you’re ready to start watching the leads roll in. The problem is, your traffic is much lower than you expected and the conversions just aren’t coming. Why? You could spend a ton of time on the back end trying to add keywords and tweak SEO meta data, but the actual problem might be something different entirely—your pages are loading so S-L-O-W-L-Y.
Site load time is an often-overlooked part of search engine optimization, but it is critical for any website marketer to pay attention to. Data analysis shows that even one or two seconds of extra load time could cost thousands or even hundreds of thousands of visitors per year—visitors who are probably going to your competitors.
The Need for Speed
The standard to shoot for, according to consumer behavior studies, is under three seconds. Keep in mind that even sites as big as Google have seen huge drop-offs in their traffic for delays as short as 1/2 a second. Mobile traffic is no different. Nearly 75% of consumers would abandon a site if it’s not available in five seconds. Since mobile browsing has officially surpassed desktop browsing, speed on the go is crucial to your site traffic.
Practical Tips for Improving Load Time
While you may not be able to change your potential customers’ patience, there are a few things you can do to change how quickly information is available. Here are some strategies that you can implement today. If you’re not completely comfortable working on the back end of your site, you can always hire a Salt Lake City SEO company.
- Keep your website coding clean; remove excessive line breaks, spaces, and tags that you don’t need, and avoid the use of superfluous programming such as Java.
- If you’re building a site from scratch, work with a professional developer to ensure your code is clean from the beginning and doesn’t require work, time and money later to clean it up.
- Keep HTML and CSS to a minimum, don’t mess with this unless you have expert web development knowledge. Instead send it to a professional SEO company with great developers so they can perform the work without blowing up your entire site.
- Keep file and image sizes as small as possible by utilizing compression programs. Image size is one of the quickest, easiest, and least-tech-savvy ways to improve site load times since there are free tools out there to help those who have little or no image editing experience.
- Clean up all your 301 redirects—these are pages that have moved. If your site is littered with redirects, search engines have a hard time navigating through all that change.
- Eliminate duplicate scripts: This can be common on sites where multiple developers are working on the back end and installing their own things. Instead, stick with a single website company to do all your SEO work to keep things clean.
- Host your site with a professional company. This could mean slightly higher monthly hosting costs but, it’s often worthwhile to ensure your site is [almost] always up and running. Not to mention it’s virtually guaranteed to load quickly.
- Host your largest files—usually audio and video—on an external site. If you’re like most companies you realize the value of video, but even the highest production value won’t help if it takes too long to load said videos.
There are plenty of pieces of the SEO puzzle, but one of the most overlooked—and perhaps one of the simplest to address—is page speed. Talk to an expert Salt Lake City SEO company today to find out how you can improve your site load times to boost traffic and conversions.