Did you know that Google now uses page speed as a ranking signal in search results? This means that if your site is slow to load, it could hurt your SEO and keep users from finding you. In fact, the company announced in January 2018 that they will increasingly promote sites that are fast on their mobile search results.
That’s right, slow sites can go unlisted by Google. Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to make your website faster. Google itself has published several blog posts on this topic; they even explain how to check your site speed with their tools.
Let’s take a look at 8 simple ways to boost your Google Page Speed Insights score:
- Install a Fast Web Server
- Add an SSL Certificate
- Use a Content Delivery Network (CDN)
- Make your site responsive
- Optimize your images
- Avoid excessive advertising
- Enable page rendering for desktop and mobile browsers
Install a Fast Web Server
The very first step in improving your website speed is to get a fast web server. While you can use any web server, we highly recommend using Google Cloud Platform. This is because your site will be hosted in Google data centers, simply put, it will be hosted by Google.
First off, because your website will be hosted in Google’s data centers, you’ll automatically get a lightning-fast load speed. This is simply because Google puts its data centers near major internet hubs, and the distance data travels between the web server and the end user is less than a tenth of a mile.
The most basic thing you can do to speed up your website is to optimize the web server hosting your site. This includes making sure that you’re using the latest operating system, installing the proper server version, and upgrading to the latest version of available software.
Other things you can do to ensure your server is running fast include: –
- Use caching: This is a really easy way to speed up your site by caching pages and data so that it doesn’t have to go through every time someone loads it. This is especially helpful if you’re running a high-traffic site.
- Install a security plug-in: You can protect your site from hackers and viruses by installing an extra layer of security on your server. You’ll also reduce the risk of your site being blacklisted for spreading viruses.
- Set up SSL: 84% of people are more likely to trust a brand that has a secure website. SSL lets you encrypt sensitive information, like passwords and payment details, so that your website is more secure. It also lets Google know that your site is legitimate.
Add an SSL Certificate
As mentioned above, an SSL certificate is more than just a way to protect your website. It also allows Google to read your website’s source code and see that you’re using a secure connection.
An SSL Certificate adds an additional layer of security to your website, and it’s also a quick way to boost your Google Page Speed Insights score. A SSL Certificate will make your site secure, and also push your Google Page Speed Insights score up by a few points. This is because adding an SSL Certificate to your site will make it load faster.
Google recommends that all websites use an SSL Certificate. And starting September 2019, Google will even show a “Not Secure” label on your site if it’s not SSL-enabled. As you can see, this is one quick and easy way to boost your Google Page Speed Insights score.
In fact, Google explicitly states that a “HTTPS site is used for all Google Search results.” When you add SSL to your site, you’re also adding trust. An SSL certificate is a sign that you’re protecting your users’ data—which is a good thing for both you and Google. Your website is not only secure, but it’s also faster because there’s less data to transfer between your server and a visitor’s computer.
Use a Content Delivery Network (CDN)
As we’ve mentioned, one quick and easy way to boost your Google Page Speed Insights score is to use a Content Delivery Network (CDN). When you use a CDN, you host your site’s static files on servers located in different geographical locations around the world. Your visitors will then be directed to one of these servers based on their location.
CDNs are extremely helpful for your users, as they’ll often be served the content much quicker than if it was hosted on your own server. This is because your website visitors will be directed to the closest server.
A Content Delivery Network (CDN) is a distributed network of servers that stores your website’s content like images and videos. This way, your server only has to send out one copy of your site’s data instead of one copy for every person visiting your site.
A lot of hosting providers now include CDN services in their plans. If you host your own site, you can also easily integrate a CDN with a few quick changes to your site’s code. CDNs are popular for speeding up websites, but they’re also a great way to ensure high availability in case your server goes down or struggles to keep up with demand.
Since your content is distributed, the load is spread out across a larger number of servers, making it easier for people to access your site.
Simply put, if your site’s user is in Bangkok, he or she will be directed to the server in Bangkok. Because your site’s static files are hosted on different servers, loading times will improve dramatically. And Google will also respond to this change in speed. In fact, Google recommends using a CDN if you want to boost your speed.
Make your site responsive
Another quick and easy way to boost your Google Page Speed Insights score is to make your site responsive. You should know that Google has a “mobile-first” initiative. The company is now prioritizing mobile results on their search engine simply because more and more people are using their mobile devices to surf the web.
You can boost your Google Page Speed Insights score by optimizing your site for mobile. Simply by adding a few lines of code to your website, you can make it responsive. This will also make it easier for your visitors to use your site with a mobile device.
If you’re not using a responsive website design, you’re missing out on a great chance to boost your Google Page Speed Insights. Google recommends responsive design as the most effective way to speed up your site.
This means that your website will automatically adjust itself and scale based on the type of device your visitor uses.
When you’re building a site, it can be tempting to code as many elements as possible in full CSS/JS files to make things easier. Unfortunately, this can slow down your site massively. Even worse, when Google analyzes your site, they don’t see the full CSS/JS files.
Optimize your images
Another quick and easy way to boost your Google Page Speed Insights score is to optimize your images. You should make sure that your images are small in file size, and use the right file type.
Images are a great way to break up your content and make your website more visually appealing. Unfortunately, they can also be a serious drain on your page speed. You can decrease the size of your images without losing quality by:
- Resizing your images – By making sure you’re uploading images that are the correct size, you’ll save time when uploading them to your site and save bandwidth when visitors download them.
- Using a visual editor – Rather than trying to resize images in a code editor, use a visual editor like Canva or Photoshop to resize and crop your images.
- Using images that are in the right format – JPG is great for photos because they compress images to reduce file sizes. However, they don’t work well with text or logos because they cause pixilation and visual distortion.
- Adding alt tags on photos – You’re required to add alt tags on all images, including photos. Doing so allows people who can’t see your images—like those using screen readers—to understand what they’re seeing.
By optimizing your images, you’ll make your website load faster. If you don’t have the skills or time to do this, you can simply hire an image optimization company. Most image optimization companies will help you optimize your images for free or a small fee. You should also consider using a WordPress plugin that can optimize your images for you.
Avoid excessive advertising
Advertising can be a great way to make money from your website. However, if you’re overdoing it with multiple pop-up ads or auto-playing videos, your website’s speed will suffer. If your website is full of ads, This is particularly true of video ads, it will slow down and have a negative impact on your load time.
Your website’s loading time is one of the factors that Google looks at when determining your Page Speed Insights score. If it takes too long for users to navigate through your site, they’ll move on to the next result.
You need to avoid an excessive number of ads on your site, particularly large and animated ads. You should also avoid putting ads before your content. Google has even said that if you put a large ad before your content, it will simply show an error message saying that “the server encountered an error.”
Enable page rendering for desktop and mobile browsers
You can boost your Google Page Speed Insights score by enabling page rendering for desktop and mobile browsers. This means that your site will load the same page to everyone, regardless of which device they use.
For example, if you have a shopping cart page on your site, you might have a large “Add to Cart” button for desktop users and a smaller “Add to Cart” button for mobile users. By enabling page rendering for desktop and mobile browsers, you’ll simply show one page to all users, no matter what device they’re on. Your website will load faster as a result.
As you can see, there are a few ways to boost your Google Page Speed Insights score. As we mentioned at the start of this post, Google now uses page speed as a ranking signal in search results. This means that if your site is slow to load, it could hurt your SEO and keep users from finding you. You can avoid this by following the tips we’ve listed in this post. And once it’s faster, you can rest assured that you’ll have an easier time converting visitors into customers.