In January 2018 Google officially announced that as of July 2018 page speed has become an SEO ranking factor.
Page speed is not always the easiest SEO element to fix as it is impacted by so many different variables such as:
- High server response time; this will cause the website to feel unresponsive and frustratingly slow for users. Furthermore high server response times will yield less pages crawled per day by Googlebot.
- Large unoptimized images; it isn’t abnormal to see a 90% reduction in image size by simply optimizing it using lossless compression or utilizing next-gen image formats such as WebP.
- Loading images below the fold; When you load images that are not visible to the user causes your page load times to unnecessarily increase.
- Not leveraging HTTP2; Without going into complicated technical detail, HTTP2 with multiplexing capabilities can help improve the overall page load times of your website.
However we can break down each step and fix the underlying issues with your websites page speed load times in order to improve SEO performance. The steps below require web hosting with a LiteSpeed enabled web-server to utilize all the features. Most web hosting providers do not support the LiteSpeed WordPress plugin which is required to improve your page load times.
High server response time
9 times out of 10 this is due to your web hosting provider, we often see websites have setup the correct caching and optimized everything as much as possible but server response time is still unacceptably high. If this is an issue you are facing consider looking at our G7 Cloud Hosting and G7 Managed VPS web hosting packages which have been tailored towards solving web hosting performing issues.
Warnings to minify your files are common on Google’s page speed insights or Lighthouse tools. Fortunately their’s an easy solution for this and that’s the LiteSpeed WordPress plugin.
LiteSpeed will take care of the rest. Note: in order to unlock the maximum capabilities of the LiteSpeed plugin you will need a hosting provider that supports LiteSpeed.
Large unoptimized images
Images generally make up over 90% of a web page can and do slow down your page load times significantly. In order to improve your page speed load times you need to use Next Gen WebP images that have been optimized for todays technology.
Using the LiteSpeed plugin we can enable WebP images as highlighted below.
Once this is enabled you can get over to the Image Optimization page, highlighted below and start the optimization process.
Loading images below the fold
Loading images that are not visible to the user slows down your overall page load speeds. For this we can utilize lazy loading. Lazy loading loads images that are visible to the user, as the user scrolls down the page additional images are loaded seamlessly.
In order to activate lazy loading head over to the ‘Media’ tab within the LiteSpeed plugin and enable lazy load images as highlighted below.
HTTP2 cannot be enabled by yourself, only your hosting provider can enable this. Be sure to check if your hosting provider has HTTP2 enabled for all customers. HTTP2 will help speed up your websites full page load times, especially on image heavy websites. All our web hosting packages have HTTP2 enabled by default.
Loading too many requests
Probably one of the biggest offenders to slowing down your page load times. Removing external requests will help dramatically improve your overall page speed, but we can also look at reducing the number of internal requests we have on our pages.
We can do this by enabling ‘Combine’ within the LiteSpeed plugin under the ‘Optimize’ tab as seen below.
Once you have completed all the steps above you should see a noticeable difference to your websites overall page load speed and score. If you need assistance feel free to get in touch with a member of our team.