Speed is an absolutely vital metric when it comes to local SEO. While many like to prioritize off-page activities such as link building and social signals, along with non-technical on-page optimizations like internal links and keywords injection, simple technical SEO tasks like speed optimizations are greatly neglected.
Well, this isn’t exactly something we’d recommend here at BusinessDirectory.com. You see, with each Google algorithm update, it becomes clearer how much Google and other search engines value speed optimization.
And if you would like your business to stand out in this regard and surge up in ranking position, you have to start paying more attention to this aspect. Thankfully, speed optimizations for your business websites and stores don’t necessarily have to be an impossible process. Below are a few tips and tricks to improve your local SEO speed and reap the benefits in no time at all.
Carry Out In-depth Analysis it Baseline Metrics
So first of all, before you begin any form of optimization, what you want to do is analyze some baseline metrics to find out exactly where you stand. Luckily, there are a handful of tools and websites you can use for this purpose.
Google’s PageSpeed Insights
PageSpeed Insights is a tool from Google itself to analyze how fast your website loads. You can carry out a general test for the homepage, as well as individual tests for each page and posts.
What’s more, the platform also allows you to carry out different tests to see how fast your website loads on desktop compared to how it does on mobile.
It goes without saying that for an ideal ranking result, you want your website to do just as great on desktop as it does on mobile.
GTmetrix is another site that allows you to perform an in-depth analysis of your baseline metrics. Among the data you can get from here include your page performance score on a scale of 1 to 100, the time taken to fully load your page (fully loaded time), and the total size of your page in megabytes.
For site speed optimization on WordPress, we strongly recommend making use of only absolutely important plugins that do not adversely affect your site speed for frivolous requests.
A tool that comes in particularly handy for general and specific speed optimization is WP Rocket.
On WP Rocket, you want to make the following optimizations:
Caching is a method of loading web pages faster by securely storing website data on a localized device instead of having to retrieve it from the source each time. While the latter takes a really long time, the former can simplify the process and make your web pages load a whole lot faster.
What you want to do on WP Rocket is allow caching both on desktop and mobile devices. Ideally, you want a 7 – 10 days cache lifespan.
Of course you can set it to a shorter timeframe if you update your site every time. And for sites that don’t get updated often, feel free to set it to an even longer duration.
File optimization is the process of making your files a significant deal smaller. The idea of course is that larger files take longer to load and hence decrease your site speed, while smaller files load a lot faster, thereby increasing site speed significantly.
Now it is worth mentioning that great care should be taken when carrying out file optimization to ensure that you don’t end up breaking things that can’t be fixed.
An automated plugin can help you get this done faster and safer, but those with coding abilities can definitely pull it off on their own.
Media optimization is simply the activity of optimizing your media. Just like the files, the goal is to make them smaller in size and thus faster to load. To do this, we recommend enabling lazy load along with iFrames. Lazy load gives your browser more leverage when it comes to loading images.
Certain plugins like WP Rocket can also help compressor files to make them faster to load in the same vein.
On WP Rocket, you can also activate add-ons like sitemap-based preloading and prefetching DNS requests, which allows browsers to carry out caching in the background.
Unnecessary Codes & Unused Scripts
Admittedly, this part of the process may be a little bit tedious for those without prior technical knowledge. In that case, it is okay to skip or at any rate hire someone who does to carry out these particular sets of optimizations.
For those with the technical knowledge, though, what you want to do is remove third-party codes on your sites that are not really playing any important role. You’d be surprised just how many of such codes there are once you carry out a proper site analysis.
You should also be on the lookout for unused scripts, which also can turn up every now and then.
Webpagetest.org is a very good resource capable of carrying out in-depth analysis of your site to discover these unnecessary codes and unused scripts. As always, you must be careful and certain so as not to remove crucial codes.
Final Thoughts on Optimizing your Website for Speed
So there you have it – pretty much everything you need to know to maximize your website for speed. You may not be able to carry out everything on the list, but even successfully performing a couple of optimizations can play a huge role in decreasing your page load time and getting a favorable ranking boost based on how fast your site is.
Along with the optimizations listed above, you may also consider doing away with large custom fonts that take time to load and consider employing a CDN (Content Delivery Network) for faster delivery. Along with DDoS protection, CDNs help ensure that your site files are delivered faster all over the world.
Set aside a few hours of the day to do all this, and you should find yourself with a better load time in no time!