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Thread: Google's Tips to Speed Up Your Site

  1. #1
    WebProWorld MVP morestar's Avatar
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    Thumbs up Google's Tips to Speed Up Your Site

    If you've got your list of on-page SEO services together, get your pen and pencils out cause there's a few more of those SEO services to add to the list - thanks to Google making known that site speed has become an open ranking factor.

    Please note: applying each of the steps below will not only compel Google to give your website a cleaner bill of health but the other major search engines will appreciate the changes too. Although Google has come clean with respect to site speed we cannot deny that speed could one day become an important ranking factor for the other search engines - not to mention the fact that a quicker website truly helps your users experience become much better as well.

    And please, to all the experienced, seasoned and highly successful SEOs visiting this thread, no flaming. Even though most SEOs take care of these parts of a website these particular tips rarely make the list of on-page SEO tips specifically as such.

    I discovered the following after taking a look at page speed in the Labs section of Google Webmaster Tools.

    The new tips to help speed up your website or that you can implement on your clients website can be classified as follows:

    Enable gzip compression in your .htaccess file
    Enabling gzip compression in your .htaccess file can substantially reduce the size of the files being sent from the server to your users computers (the browser). By enabling gzip compression within your .htaccess file you're telling the server to compress (zip) the file before it is sent to the users browser. Compressing the file can make it substantially smaller and thus substantially reduce the load time of your pages.

    Simply add the following directive into your .htaccess file.

    # compress all text & html:
    AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE text/html text/plain text/xml

    # Or, compress certain file types by extension:
    <Files *.html>
    SetOutputFilter DEFLATE
    </Files>
    Make sure to test your website immediately after adding the above directive so as to make sure everything is in working order.

    Combine external JavaScript
    This would be listed in your on-page SEO proposal most likely as: Combine all external JavaScript files into one so as to reduce the number of calls to the server during page load. It's obvious that this could contribute to page load speeds but remember two things: a. it isn't always easy or beneficial to combine code from one JavaScript file into another as conflicting issues could arise. Remember putting all your JavaScript code into one file may take some time to work properly too. b. some of your JavaScript code may not ever work if it is combined with other JavaScript files successfully for a myriad of reasons. If that is the case you'll just have to settle with a separate call to the server for that file. That's OK though. It's not the biggest problem but do your best to combine as many JavaScript files as you reasonably can.

    Minimize DNS lookups
    Straight from Google on this one: "Reducing the number of unique hostnames from which resources are served cuts down on the number of DNS resolutions that the browser has to make, and therefore, RTT delays." The entire piece of information regarding the reduction of DNS lookups is quite lengthy and technical so I'll summarize it here: Try your best, your very best to reduce the number of domains/hosts that your files come from OR try to reduce the number of external files you use on your site especially during initial load time.

    Combine external CSS
    This is straight forward and even slightly intuitive. It's almost second nature to cut the corner a little bit by placing all your CSS code into one file and is conducive to a faster loading website. Again one file, one call - responses to CSS calls are usually quick and combining your CSS references into one file can only benefit your site with respect to site speed. There generally aren't any problems related to putting all your CSS code into one stylesheet.

    Optimize the order of styles and scripts
    Simply put, the browser delays rendering all code after JavaScript has been downloaded, parsed and executed. Therefore Google's suggestion is to place all you the references to your external CSS files before you load your JavaScript files. For example if a file is being downloaded when a JavaScript file is referenced for download, the JavaScript file is downloaded in parallel with the first file and in essence, will reduce the speed at which the first (possibly smaller) file is downloaded.

    Asynchronous Tracking
    If you've installed Google Analytics code into your website you may have found your website loading slow from time to time due to the analytics script taking it's time to load. Google has addressed this issue with Asynchronous Tracking. Asynchronous tracking optimizes how browsers load Google's ga.js and thus shortens the load time of your pages.

    Simply replacing your analytics code with the code example on the asynchronous tracking page will do the trick. Or simply replace your current code with the code below:

    <script type="text/javascript">

    var _gaq = _gaq || [];
    _gaq.push(['_setAccount', 'UA-XXXXX-X']);
    _gaq.push(['_trackPageview']);

    (function() {
    var ga = document.createElement('script'); ga.type = 'text/javascript'; ga.async = true;
    ga.src = ('https:' == document.location.protocol ? 'https://ssl' : 'http://www') + '.google-analytics.com/ga.js';
    var s = document.getElementsByTagName('script')[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(ga, s);
    })();

    </script>
    Remember to pay special attention to the follwing line in the code:

    _gaq.push(['_setAccount', 'UA-XXXXX-X']);
    Make sure to replace the 'UA-XXXXX-X' with your property ID. The property ID can be found in your previous analytics code or in the settings for your domain in your Google Analytics.

    ---------------------------------

    Like I mentioned earlier, for a lot of SEOs these type of tips to help speed up your website are common sense but for many, especially the busy ones who aren't able to get updated information as quick as some of us can, especially in relation to Google and site speed, these SEO service additions can be really good as another aspect of a proposal for SEO services and/or as a part of a thorough website audit.

    The information above was gathered through the Page Speed Suggestions section of the Site Performance section in labs for Google Webmaster Tools and on Google's page about asynchronous tracking. If you've discovered other tid-bits related to speeding up your website but not specifically related to any particular CMS feel free to post your speed tips below for the rest of the members.

    The full list of site performance suggestions will give you a complete set of new SEO tools and more importantly, responsibilities, that you can apply to your website, or as a services for your current and future clients.

    Enjoy...


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  3. #2
    Moderator mjtaylor's Avatar
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    Re: Google's Tips to Speed Up Your Site

    Here are some more ideas for speeding up your site from Vincent Flanders (Web Pages That Suck).

    Flanders suggests you:

    • Remove third party widgets;
    • Cache your files (with some excellent links to help you do that); and
    • Compress your web page components.

    Good resources there.
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  5. #3
    WebProWorld MVP kgun's Avatar
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    Re: Google's Tips to Speed Up Your Site

    Quote Originally Posted by nikita80 View Post
    Site's speed is factor to concern. If one's site is not loading fast that no one is going to wait for that site to open. So it is the most important thing which is ignored. Even if you site is excellent but your site is not opening quickly it is not going to get good traffic.
    That is simply not true. Sometimes you don't have an alternative. Those subforums may take a half minute to load, simply because:

    1. Embarcadero has not kept up with increased popularity.
    2. They are behind on developing a fast big forum.

    A good subject, but pure speed a(n important) ranking factor. I am sceptical. I have always advocated minimalism and clean code.

    Three examples:

    1. 11-19-2005

    Quote Originally Posted by kgun View Post
    My one SEO rule:

    Write dynamic quality content with simple clean code and good headings.
    Source: http://www.webproworld.com/google-di...tml#post223678


    2. 27 Dec 2005

    Quote Originally Posted by kgun View Post
    I do not know the SE algorithms, but it may be an alternative / substitute to PPC (especially when the whole world jump on the PPC bandwagon) and (other) SEO work.

    But it (there) is nothing new (under the sun).

    I have a dream. One day my own (one) SEO rule will dominate the digital Ad and branding industry.

    SEO rule:
    Write dynamic quality content with simple, clean code and good headings.

    Code / content is Queen, refactoring King.
    Source: http://www.webproworld.com/search-en...tml#post231973

    3. 03-03-2006

    Quote Originally Posted by kgun View Post
    I repeat my SEO rule written n times here at WPW.

    SEO Rule:
    Write dynamic quality content with simple, clean code and good headings.

    May be better:

    Modified SEO Rule:
    Make human dynamic quality content with simple, clean code and good headings.
    Source: http://www.webproworld.com/search-en...tml#post246963

    and don't forget this modification posted 03-04-2006

    Quote Originally Posted by kgun View Post
    My private:

    SEO definition 1:
    Improving a site's (the pages of the site) postion on the SERP's of one SE without worsening it other SE's SERP's.

    Professional SEO definition 1:
    Improving a site's (the pages of the site) postion on the SERP's for a sustainable increase in free cash flow.
    Source: http://www.webproworld.com/search-en...tml#post247140

    You find more examples by searching

    "SEO rule" quality content simple clean code kgun site:webproworld.com

    and variations thereof.

    Don't loose foccus and put the above rule(s) in front of you.

    The above rules are pure and simple techniques. This

    http://www.webproworld.com/google-di...tml#post508136

    is art.
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  7. #4

    Re: Google's Tips to Speed Up Your Site

    You can use Google Chrome Web Developer Tools to check the loading speed of any website. CTRL+Shift+I brings up the tool, then click on Resources Tab and enable it.
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  9. #5

    Re: Google's Tips to Speed Up Your Site

    What about the actual server the files are on? Are there any special conditions that should be checked for? Things to be avoided?

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  11. #6
    WebProWorld MVP kgun's Avatar
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    Re: Google's Tips to Speed Up Your Site

    Host your webpages on a rack with T3 connection.
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  13. #7
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    Re: Google's Tips to Speed Up Your Site

    I always love the phrase "clean code". I quit using that phrase a long time ago when a customer asked "what exactly is 'clean code' and how will it help?"

    To each person and coder it is different. Some claim putting comments in code slows it down and makes it messy and that notes about code should go on a seperate text file. Things like that. Clean could mean easy to read. Clean could mean no extraneous code.

    So I changed it to "highly optimized code". Meaning that I make it do what it is supposed to do with the minimum amount of code.

  14. #8
    WebProWorld MVP kgun's Avatar
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    Re: Google's Tips to Speed Up Your Site

    Study the PDF document about PHP 6 that you find in the last link in my signature. If you learn or understand the concept of object overloading, thousands of line of code can be reduced to a few lines.

    That does not imply that you shall concentrate on technology. You shall IMO concentrate on content and make the best code you can at the time you make it. If you have time update yourself on new technologies.

    If it isn't broken, don't fix it.

    Good enough is sometimes best.
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  15. #9
    WebProWorld MVP morestar's Avatar
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    Re: Google's Tips to Speed Up Your Site

    I was just informed in another post related to 301 redirects, by Sir. wige of what tools he uses to check the state and status of data being transferred from the server to your browser:

    Quote Originally Posted by wige
    I use a variety of tools, from Firebug (Net tab, check the type of file you want to test) to Tamper Data, to Fiddler, which gives the best overall picture of the data being transferred between the browser and the server.
    Currently I use Tamper Data and find it quite useful. It is a Firefox plugin. When it's running and you load a page it provides you with quite a bit of userful information related to which files are being loaded, what sites some of your files are being loaded from and how long each of these files are taking to load. Tamper Data and other tools as mentioned above by Sir. wige are must-haves if you want to quickly solve some of your page loading and page speed issues - if any or for future use.


  16. #10
    WebProWorld MVP kgun's Avatar
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    Re: Google's Tips to Speed Up Your Site

    1. I think I drew Wige's attention to Fiddler.
    2. Regarding clean code, where I used object overloading as an example. In sum it implies that n potential error points (like n attribute setters) are reduced to 1 error point (one attribute setter).
    3. Keeping JS and CSS code in site-wide include files / style sheets also cleans up code, make your code more efficient and easier to modify.
    4. This is however old subject and nothing new, but when Google start talking about it it is suddenly on everybody's agenda.
    5. Your thread is a sticky. Good. It is not very different from what I wrote when I joined this forum 5 years ago (see post #4)
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