Speed-to-load is one of the most crucial factors in determining how Google, and other search engines, rank your website. This is a critical aspect of Search Engine Optimization (SEO), particularly with regards to your home landing page.
All too often, we see business owners thinking, “all’s well,” when they check their own website; they neglect to realize that a lot of their website’s data (pictures, css stylesheets, scripts) is stored locally on their own PC’s from previous visits. This can give a false sense of security that speed-to-load is okay.
A local business’ website that’s measured without clearing the local storage (or cache), of previously downloaded items appears to be average with a 5 to 6 sec download speed (actually, it should be in the 2 to 3 second range). BUT, when you view it from the perspective of a first-time visitor, this is what they experience:
Whoa! Nearly 14 seconds! No wonder their SERP (search engine results page) rankings are so low. There are many utilities you can use to measure your own site. We recommend doing a measurement both before and after clearing all your browser history to see what John Q. Public sees. If it’s more than a few seconds – you’re overdue for a tune up.
So, the natural question now becomes, “What can we do about it?” The answer can vary widely depending on the root cause: network congestion, server responsiveness, domain lookup, and on and on. Frequently, compressing script files, moving stylesheets to load up front, and re-sampling / re-sizing pictures are just some of the techniques we use to help overcome slow websites. Given the large number of possible contributing factors, you probably need a professional to do a thorough analysis – if only to target the biggest offenders. We invite you to contact Piedmont Technology if you’d like an analysis and quote for speeding up your own business website.