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5 Steps for Reducing Your Website’s Loading Time

March 11, 2019 Tips&Tricks

Maximize Google’s algorithms so your website comes out first in the search results.

The first thing you need to remember is that more and more people are using their cellphones to search the Internet.  This is why Google has implemented mobile-first indexing of websites.  And that’s not all! To rank sites, search engines also consider loading time.

Learn how it works!

If a page displays in less than three seconds, we’d say it has a fast loading time.  Unfortunately, loading times on mobile devices are often closer to 22 seconds.  And the longer your loading time, the higher your rebound rate will be.

So how can we make it load faster?

Before we go any further, here’s a refresher on the basics that can help you better understand the factors that affect loading time.

These elements must be present on your site if you want to optimize your SEO:

  • The three main markers <html>, <head> and <body> make up part of the source code and greatly influence SEO and therefore, loading time.
  • The structure of each page and more specifically the tags; <h1> corresponds to the webpage title and <h2> to <h6> corresponds to the sub-title.  The keywords in these tags relate to the webpage content.
  • The TTFB or time to first byte – refers to the amount of time it takes to bring up the first information on the page.
  • The robots.txt file indicates which information can and cannot be read and followed on a website. This is what search engine crawlers will use to analyze the relevance of your site.
  • Finally, the sitemap will guide the crawler to check if all the links are connected.

A number of Google tools will let you verify these different criteria:

– Test My Site : Analyze your site’s loading time.
– Google Search Console : Measure performances and optimize your site.

Now that you have a better understanding of all these elements, it’s time to follow our 5 steps for improving your website pages’ loading times even more.

  1. On each page, do not create more than the amount of content you need

Remember that the HTML code is a text with a link to each image, video or sound. Multimedia elements that aren’t directly related to your webpage content can drag out the loading time.  It’s therefore important to make sure you only use relevant images and videos.

  1. Pay attention to the size of your content

Now that you’re down to the page’s essentials, you need to reduce its overall size, i.e. its content.  Forget high-quality images and photos. Consider the screen that your site will appear on.
Take advantage of the option to display different image sizes for different screen sizes. For example, your developer will confirm that 1920 pixels is ideal for a desktop computer, but this width is excessive for a phone with a screen that is only 415 pixels wide.

Does all this seem complicated to you? Don’t panic. There are free online tools or basic preview apps on your computer that should do the trick.  You can do a quick Google search to access the tutorials.

We’ve talked a bunch about images, but what about videos?

Converting to GIF will let you save quite a bit in file size. It’s up to you to see if that’s enough to get your message across.  For videos that cannot be converted into GIF, use a video hosting service like YouTube or Daily Motion.  The complete video file isn’t downloaded except for when a visitor watches it.  Therefore, during the page’s initial loading, only the useful file size is recorded.

  1. Beware of too many extras on your pages!

Google Analytics, Hubspot Tracking and Facebook Pixel make up some of the essential “extras” on your site.   You can also have places where you include an integration code. It could be for a CTA or even a cat service.
But whatever it is, make sure you only stick with what’s necessary.

  1. Improve your site’s mobile layout as needed

Before you publish a page, check the mobile version and make sure that the images and videos are displaying correctly.  Know that it’s possible to conceal a portion of superfluous content in the mobile view. Your website should have different versions, both a mobile and desktop version. In both cases, it is important to keep the initial screen simple and direct.  Too much activity can increase your loading time!

  1. Don’t forget to re-index your page after you make your changes

Once the changes are saved, test your page again.  If you’re happy with the result, you can ask Google to revisit your site to capture updates.   It takes a certain amount of time for the search bot to find a modified page.  Check it out on Google Search Console  

Now you know all the elements at play when it comes to increasing or decreasing your loading time.  Don’t forget that every second you save in your loading page is a chance to land a better ranking. And this is crucial if you want to improve your traffic.

With optimized content, visitors are more likely to stay on your page and consume your content. And what more could you ask for?