Improve SEO with fast page load times

When your page is slow to load or choppy to scroll through, a visitor is likely to leave your site or at least have a bad user experience. Therefore, search engines take your page's load time into consideration when ranking your site in search engine results pages.

Certain aspects of page load time are out of your control, such as the quality of the internet signal someone is using. But most of the factors that affect page load times are in your control. There are tools you can use to assess a page's load time.

Six simple ways
to lower your page load time

Any time you add something other than text to your page, you should stop and ask yourself two questions:

  1. Is this worth slowing my page load time for? 
  2. Will it distract from the main content on my page, and if so, is it worth it?

Content like widgets and videos can be a great way to complement your text, but only if they’re truly elevating the content on your page. 

#1 Do you really need that widget?

Widgets can really enrich a page if they are actively used. Otherwise, they're just slowing your page down, and making it look out of date.

For example, if your last event was 3 months ago, and your last news article was four months ago, it is clear that you aren't making regular use of these widgets. To visitors, it makes your page look out of date and inactive. If you do have infrequent events, you can always talk about them in the text on your home page, or a fitting section of your website, and then delete that content once the event is over.

#2 Do you really need that banner or leaderboard?

Leaderboards and banners are a great way to draw your visitors' attention to something like an upcoming deadline or conference. Beyond that, they can distract from the content on your page, and slow your page load time.

Always ask yourself: is this banner or leaderboard worth slowing my page load time for? Is this leaderboard or banner something that would be of interest to most visitors on my page, or is it just distracting from my page’s core content?

#3 One video is good. 5 videos is probably not necessary

Video content is great content. Videos enhance the visitor experience of your page, and can relay a lot of information in a way that reduces the amount of text on your page. 

However, while one or two YouTube video embeds on your page shouldn't affect your page load time too much, three or more videos may. Always ask yourself how much video content is necessary on a page. Could you break your page up into some smaller ones, and place a video on each page, for example?

#4 Optimize your photos for the web

Uploading a 10 megabyte photo to your page will really slow your page load time, and does not really look any better than if you compressed that same image to 200kb. It is therefore worth ten seconds to compress any images you upload to your site, using free tools such as Ideally, your photos will also be sized to a max of 800px wide. You can resize photos before uploading your photo, or, by using the image editor in T4's media library. You can also create Flickr photos galleries to reduce the number of images on your page.

#5 Does this really need to be a table? 

Tables take longer to load than text does, because they're more complex and have to be responsive for mobile devices. Quite often, what you're picturing as a table could easily be handled by something like a bulleted list or by creating a series of small headers with related text below them. This approach is generally better for SEO and for user experience as well. Tables are an outdated way of presenting information on a website and are best reserved for print-based presentations. They're just not ideal for people on mobile devices.

#6 Keep the content on your page concise and focused on one topic.

Within reason, you should keep the text on any one page as concise and focused on a single topic as possible. This is best achieved by a website structure that has pages devoted to single topics, and having those single-topic pages offer links to pages focused on related topics.

For example, a page about engineering graduate programs should talk generally about its graduate programs, not any one program in particular, and then provide a lists of links to its 11 program pages. Having information about all 11 program options on one page would make for one very long page, about 11 very different programs. This is a not a focused or concise page, whereas a page on just the civil engineering program would be a focused and useful page for someone curious about Memorial's civil engineering program.