November 15, 2010

Optimizing Your Page Speed for Google SEO

When you are preparing your blog to be Search Engine Optimized Google is often the search engine you think about the most. Of course Bing, Yahoo and the others are important but Google generally calls the shots and when they make an announcement it pays to stand up and listen. Google recently came out and said that the speed of your individual WebPages will be a factor that affects ranking within their search engines. In short this means you have to make your WebPages load as fast as possible. Obviously this is not the only factor in ranking but good SEO involves dealing with the little things. What Affects Page Speed? When you open a webpage your browser makes a call to the host server to serve up the page. This action sets off a sequence of loading the content which goes down the code in order and creates the visual display of the web page that you see. The more code and images involved in a page the longer the load time is likely to be. So things like extra plugins, JavaScript code and large images will dramatically slow down your page speed. It's your job to optimize in these areas and get your pages running as smoothly as possible.


Optimizing Images for Page Speed


It's always good to start with your images. I advise you download your blogs images and go through them one by one making sure that firstly if they display at a certain size (for example, 100px) on your blog that the actual image is that size. In your image editor open the image and check the image dimensions to find out if it needs fixing.

You also need to consider image compression. I like to use a tool called "Save for Web" in Adobe Photoshop. This tool allows you to see what different kinds of compression will do to an image visually and also allows you to see the final
file size before saving. This way you can find the smallest file size with the
best quality. If you do not own Photoshop then I suggest that you JPEG files
with a Medium compression. You can play with the compression levels to get
acceptable quality for your website.


Optimizing Wordpress Code and Plugins

Plugins and extra code can be a huge drain on your server. In your Wordpress admin you should go to your plugins and deactivate any plugin that you do not need. I would even consider removing plugins that add any functions that are not absolutely necessary. Next up you should look at your Wordpress widgets and remove any extra code blocks (I frames, JavaScript) from your sidebars that are not needed. Your Wordpress header.php and footer.php may also include tracking code to various services such as analytics, Izea, BlogCatalog, etc. Remove any code

That you do not use. Finally I suggest you take a look at your style.css file and if you have the knowledge go through and remove any code that is not needed. Often if you have made tweaks to your site you will find extra code here.



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