Apart from the keywords and backlinks, there is a lot more that the search engines consider for the ranking of your pages. And one of them is how fast your page loads, the speed of the page website working is an important factor in getting a better ranking. The page speed is the time someone has to wait so that your page loads completely.
If the page (and the website) loads slowly, you need to take steps to improve it. And here, in this article is one of the ways to do it, GZIP compression. But first, let’s see why the page loading speed is an important factor.
Site’s speed and SEO
The website loading speed is directly proportional to the user experience. Faster the web pages load, better is the experience. And as a matter of fact, a bad user experience (UX) can cost you, your business and a lot of profits. If the website takes time to load, the prospective buyer will just leave it. Normally the buyers neither have time or patience to wait for the website to load slowly. If it’s not done just few seconds then they are going to switch to another website.
As per a study by Akamai, 40% of the visitors will leave a page if it takes more than three seconds to load. And thus, the search engines consider the loading speed of your website to rank it in the search results. The faster the website is, the higher is the ranking, either on small screens or desktops. And many things affect the page speed.
What affects site’s speed?
Following are some of the things which affect the loading speed of a page –
- The graphics –
One of the main reasons for the slow speed is the theme your website uses. Special graphics may improve the visual user experience but it contributes to slow speed. Larger the size of the images and more their number, slower would be the speed.
- Un-optimised plugins –
Not all plugins work the same way across browsers and devices. Refrain from using any plugin that slows down your site. Check their performance across different environments and use only those which are necessary.
- Embedded media –
Embedding external media can be quite beneficial at times, saving your time and hosting space. They have a positive impact on the UI but also slows down the loading speed. Try hosting the content instead of embedding it.
- Excessive redirects –
Like the problem of linking external media, is the issue of redirection. They affect the page speed, and too many redirects will slow down your website. It impacts the overall working of the website.
- The hosting servers –
Yes, even the web hosting service you are using, determines the page load speed. You get what you pay for. While inexpensive services keep your operating costs low, they also provide a poor quality service and slow page loading speed. Check before you pick one.
So, take all these into accounts and take care of your page loading speed to improve the SEO ranking. Your customers will have a better experience and the search engine bots will appreciate it too. One of the many ways is to compress the data using GZIP compression method, which you will read about next.
What is GZIP compression?
The GZIP compression method is a way to compress files, making them smaller, to have faster transfers over the Internet. It is a standard practice across the web which helps provide the smaller file sizes when someone requests any data.
Let’s see a simple analogy. When you order food, it comes packed in a small carry bag, which facilitates easy transfers. When it arrives, you unpack it and set it on the table to eat. Similarly, using GZIP compression method, the server will compress the bytes of data required by your site in a smaller and package and will deliver it to you at a faster speed.
As a result, the pages load faster. Whatever is your web server – htaccess, Apache, Litespeed or Nginx – they support the GZIP compression. Most of the servers are in favor of using GZIP files as they reduces the chances of server crashes as well.
How effective is GZIP compression?
A website is made up of a number of files including HTML, CSS and JS. Compressing all those files with GZIP compression can reduce the file sizes to about 60-70%. And it’s but natural that the reduced file size will contribute to faster loading time for pages, and the overall website.
How does GZIP compression work?
When you click on a link, the browser requests the server for the related website files. The server then searches for it and sends the file to the browser. The faster the process is, the faster is the loading time for the page. And, faster the user can see the page. GZIP files works in the exact manner as your normal zip files work, here the working of zipping and un-zipping is automated by the server and the user’s browser.
And if it takes time, the user is going to leave the process midway. But with GZIP compression, which reduces the file size by up to 70%, the user experiences faster loading.
The “zipped” version of the file takes less time to send and the browser then “unzips” it on the user side. The servers support the GZIP compression method, as said earlier, and so do the modern browsers.
Now, that you know all about GZIP compression, test your site now! And enable the GZIP compression if it’s not.
Don’t allow the visitors to be disappointed.