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SEO Mini Series – 4 Important Things You Need To Know About Loading Speed

Nothing can be more frustrating for internet users than a slow webpage loading speed.  While dial up is quickly fading away in favor of faster high speed internet, there are still pages that load up more slowly than others.  Impatient users may leave a page before it finishes loading, and your site’s loading speed will even factor into search engine optimization.  From understanding why SEO is affected to tips on speeding up your page, here are four things you should understand about website loading speed.

1.    How Speed Affects SEO – Search engines pride themselves not only on helping their users find information and websites, but also on directing them to the best and fastest websites out there.  The speed with which your site loads is only a tiny percentage of how it is ranked on Google and other search sites, but with so many sites available that percentage can push you higher on rankings than your competitors.

2.    Adjust Your Images – The first thing to do towards speeding up your load times is to ensure that the images on your website are optimized for the internet.  JPEG and GIF are the two most common file types as far as images, with GIF usually used for graphics and JPEG applied to photos.  The smaller a file’s size, the quicker it will load, something that is important to remember if your site has lots of images on it.  You can lower the quality of photos slightly and decrease their size tremendously, and most users won’t notice the slight difference.

3.    Use a Slash – It may sound odd, but simply adding a forward slash to the end of directory pages can help speed up load times.  Without a slash, the server will need to figure out if the address accesses a file or a page, a decision that will take a small amount of time.  Adding that forward slash will eliminate the decision and speed up loading.  For example, use mywebsite.com/blog/ instead of mywebsite.com/blog.

4.    Reduce Bells and Whistles – Everyone loves Flash, videos, and other media elements, and they can certainly give your page that ‘wow’ factor that we all want.  But they can also slow down your loading times tremendously, especially if your site is filled with them.  If you have an introductory video, great.  But don’t add more to the page than it.  In short, trim down your flashy bells and whistles and your speed will benefit from it.

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