Chichester Design considers the importance of page loading time for SEO

Jeremy Gilbert AvatarIf you’re a frequenter of SEO blogs and Twitter alike you will no doubt have heard mumblings of how the time that it takes for your website or webpages to load could be of more significance in the future.

After stating that page speed is already a factor in the AdWords quality score, Matt Cutts of Google has recently said that the search engine will soon also consider page loading time as a factor for Search Engine Optimisation.

Page load time will just be the latest factor taken into account when ranking a page. There are currently around 200 individual ranking factors considered by Google as important in terms of SEO and each is weighted differently.

In order to play things safe, you should be aiming for a page to load in less than 5 seconds, and it is believed that from next year Google’s Algorithm changes are likely to deem any site with a load time of over 20 seconds as too slow.

This is an attempt to detect spam more easily, which is often delivered via servers crammed with hundreds, if not thousands, of similar sites. Meanwhile, this should help high quality sites to rank higher and more relevant pages to be displayed, therefore improving usability.

With this in mind, the back end of your website needs special attention to improve optimisation and this is where the expertise of Chichester Design’s web developer, Jeremy, come into full swing:

In a nutshell, Jeremy advises the following:

  • Don’t overload your website with images – large files take longer to load
  • Consider the benefits of Javascript over Flash – Flash is overdone, takes longer to load and makes websites over-complicated
  • Host videos on YouTube and provide a link from your website – YouTube is so large it has the capability to load quickly and a link to YouTube is doubly great for SEO
  • Avoid having “enter site” introduction pages – reduce loading time, number of clicks and let your visitor get straight to the info
  • Use XHTML and CSS to set out your website – using tables for layout clutters markup and really slows load times, whereas storing style information in an external CSS file keeps everything tidy and ensures page load times are fast
  • Make sure images are optimised and exported at the correct dimensions – large image files scaled down by the browser will take a much longer time to load than an image that has already been scaled down by image editing software
  • Keep the markup simple – most HTML tags can be styled with CSS so there’s no need for them to be nested
  • Images should ideally be used only for headers and never larger bodies of text – static text consumes only bytes where images consume thousands of bytes
  • Make use of server side compression software – this ensures files are at their optimum size prior to being sent to the client browser, this is a great idea for script (e.g. PHP) and CSS files where the focus is not on semantics

If you would like further advice on website development and Search Engine Optimisation then the Chichester Design team is here to help. Give us a call on 01243 787 542 or email us at: [email protected].



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