If you take a look into Google’s best practices for SEO, you are going to see that emphasis has been placed on website speed. Google wants to optimize its user’s experience as much as possible, and websites that take an awfully long time to load just don’t make the cut!
If you want your website to be truly optimized, you need to make sure that it is running smoothly, efficiently, and quickly! Here are a few ways to ensure that your site is loading at top speed so Google can start placing it at higher positions on its SERPs:
1. Install the Caching Plugin
By enabling caching on your WordPress site, you can significantly increase load speed for returning users. Instead of the site building “dynamic” model pages, the site can pick up on the stored version of the site on the user’s browser for a visit.
2. Optimize All Images
Images are a necessity for drawing readers towards your content, but there is no denying that they take up a ton of space, leading to longer loading times. Use compression software and image editing software before uploading it onto your website to ensure that it is not too large and loads quickly.
3. Remove Unnecessary Redirects
Every time a user on your site is redirected, each individual page goes through an HTTP request-response cycle, which can take a lot of time for the page to load. Instead of going from your site link to the home page as a redirect, limit it to one page.
4. Choose the Right Theme
WordPress has tons of themes for you to choose from, and many of them have been optimized to load faster than others. Make sure you choose your theme carefully to ensure your load time is as quick as possible.
5. Limit Your Social Sharing Buttons
6. Choose Your Plugins Mindfully
In the case of CMSs like WordPress, plugins, and add-ons can seriously slow down your site’s load time. Go through the ones that you have on your site, and remove any that you deem unnecessary.
7. Split Your Long-Form Content Into Pages
Long-form content is preferred by Google’s algorithms. However, loading on a single page can also take time for it. Split your content onto multiple pages with the use of a “Next Page” button or something similar.
8. Split Your Comments
Similar to long-form content, multiple comments can also take a ton of time to load. Post engagement is great for your site. However, you need to make sure that you are using the built-in WordPress solution that can help you limit the number of comments that show up on a single page, with the option to load more.
9. Use Gzip Compression
This is similar to how we compress files on our computers, so they take significantly less space. You can use Gzip to automatically compress files on your site so that they load faster.
10. Don’t Upload Videos/Audio Directly To Your Site
Though you have the option, avoid uploading videos and audio directly to your site. This can take up a lot of bandwidth and slow down your site massively. Instead, rely on hosting sites like YouTube or Vimeo to take the brunt of the bandwidth usage.
11. Make Sure Your Background Processes Are Working Optimally
On your WordPress site, a variety of different background processes are taking place, and they have an impact on your website’s speed. One such process that has a significant impact is the backup plugin. Make sure this plugin isn’t working too frequently. It should only work during low traffic times.
12. Use A CDN (Content Delivery Network)
A CDN distributes your content and stores it on servers in different locations around the world. What this essentially means is that copies of your site are stored on different servers, which will make it easier to load for people depending on their geographic location.
13. Limit Your External Requests
Loading files from other websites like images from Facebook or Google or scripts and stylesheets can make your website run slower than it should. You can limit these requests by disabling scripts and styles on your site.
14. Optimize Your Database
If your website has been around for a while on WordPress, it is likely that you have tons of information stored in your database that you no longer need. Use the WordPress Sweep Plugin to get rid of any unnecessarily stored information like deleted posts and revisions.
15. Use Faster Plugins
Not only are the number of plugins affecting your speed, but the quality of your plugins as well; a higher number of quality plugins will load faster than fewer low-quality plugins.
16. Disable Your Hotlinking
If your content is working for you and getting you readers, then it is likely that someone on the internet is on the prowl to steal it. Hotlinking is one of the ways content gets stolen; and you don’t even get any traffic to show for your efforts. Disable hotlinking by adding a code to your .htaccess file.
17. Update Your Site!
WordPress updates are frequent in order to keep the host running as smoothly as possible. Make sure you are up-to-date with all the updates. Carry out updates for your site accordingly.
Once your site is optimized for speed, you can start focusing on other areas of SEO good practices to make sure your website flies to the top of SERPs!