7 simple optimization tricks for faster website

an insight to search engine
Last modified on Mar 23, 2021

Search Engine optimization (SEO)

Search engine optimization can be termed as optimizing the website for the search engine so that the website pages appear in the search results for the searched query or keyword. There is not any list of predefined optimization techniques applying which can make your website appear in the search results. Since search engines like Google regularly update their algorithm. So, page rank also vary accordingly. this is the main reason no optimization technique can give you results for the longer period of time. However, regularly updating your websites according to the search engine algorithms help your webpages stay in the top of the search results.

Importance of faster website and page speed in SEO

Higher the page speed lower is its load time. A webpage which loads faster gives user a good page experience. In May 2020 Google has announced that Page experince will be major factor in calculating page ranking in the search results. In Nov 2020, Google has announced that page experience signals in search engine ranking will roll out in May 2021. So, it has become quite evident that improving page experience is an important optimization technique for SEO. Though lots of factors add up to make page experience but page load time is the important factor. The page load time is also called time taken for the Largest Contentful Paint.

Here, I will talk about 7 simple optimization tricks that will decrese your webpage load time and make your website faster than your competitors.

1. Enable gzip compression

Gzip is a data lossless data compression technique. It is used by the server and browser to compress and decompress the sent data over the internet. Since it is a lossless data compression technique, no data is lost during the compression and transmission of data and exact form of the data is extracted using the decompression technique.

Since, it decompresses the data sent by server, the transmitted data becomes smaller in size which would have been larger if no gzip comprerssion have been enabled. Since, the transmitted data becomes smaller, transmission time also decreases which results into faster website.

2. Efficient cache policy

When server serves a wepbage to the browser. It can tell the browser that how long it can store the different components of the webpage in a local storage. So that for subsequent request for the same webpage are loaded from the local storage rather than the distant server. This speeds up the page load time.

We can set the max-age in the server side for the static files that how long browser should store then in local storage. The max-age field generally set in seconds and that can be set to cache upto one year. But it might generate some drawback. If you bring any changes to static files that will not be included in the webpages. So, repeated visitors might not be able to see new updated content.

3. Minify css and javascript files

A large CSS and javascript files considerable increase page load time. So, it is best to minify the css and javascript files to decrease the page load time considerably. Bootstrap is generally used to build responsive website these days. You can use cdn link that provide minified version of the css and js files.

4. Async defer the css and javascript files

Browser renders the webpages line by line. During this course it finds several CSS and JS files which block the main thread. Blocking the main thread increases the page rendering time. The main reason Javascript blocks the main thread because it is being downloaded synchronuously. So to overcome this we explicitly we use Async which tells the browser to load the JS files asynchronously. With Defer the JS file is executed only when the document parsing is complete.

So, with async defer we explicitly tell the browser to download the JS files asynchronuously and start the execution of script only when document parsing is complete.

Alternatively, you can also put the javascript file at the end of the body tag. This way you need not include async defer in the in the link tag. Putting the JS file at the end of the body tag will download the JS file at last, so it doesn't block the main thread. However don't put the CSS file at the end of the body. The CSS file will always be at head section.

5. Use cdn server

CDN that is content delivery network is a geographically distributed group of servers that works together to provide fastest delivery of web documents to the requested clients. How does CDN delivery is fast? Because you documents is not stored at a single traditional server, but it is distributed among many distant servers. So, if any request comes from a client then the closest server will always respond. For other client a different server might respond depending upon which server is closest to the client. This is different from the traditional single server system where one server will respond always no matter how far the client is. This makes the connection slow and increases page load time, which is not good for SEO. So, it is adviced to use CDN.

6. Serve responsive images

Improper image size increases the amount of data being transferred. It is quite obvious that larger the data, greater the page load time hence slower pages. How does the size of image is calculated improper? Server should never serve images with pixel size larger than the version's that is rendered on the user's screen. That is, say the actual size of an image is 1280X720 but on the browser the image is rendered as 600X400. So, in this case server serves image that is 1280X720, lets its size is 200KB. But browser renders it as 600X400 which is much smaller than 200KB. This will be considered as improper image size.

One possible solution to this is serve responsive images. There are many CDN which serve responsive images. Server run some kind of script which automatoically detects the size of the screen and serve images responsively. That is if user on the larger device it will serve larger image and on smaller screen smaller images will be served. You can also manually maintain two different size of the same image and serve. But the later is time consuming. For larger websites serving responsive images using CDN is best.

7. DNS Prefetch and Prerender

Prefetch is a concept of fetching the web documents by the browser even before it is requested by the user. Now, the point is if certain resource is not requested by the user how does browser know in advance that which resource it should prefetch. It is the web developer which tells the browser to prefetch some additional resources which may be required in future while it is loading some webpage. Say, a user is on home page and there is a high chance that it will visit the about us page. In such case the developer can ask the browser to prefetch some documents of the about us page to speed up the load time if users visits the about us page next. In some special cases a webpage can be prerendered by the browser.

In prefetch browser only fetches some of the static files like css, js or image files to speedup the load time of next page. But in prerender browser prefetches all the required files and renders it in advance. So that if user visits the next page, it just appears instantly to the user screen without having to wait anytime.

Basically, prefetch is of three types.

  1. DNS Prefetch
  2. Link/Resource prefetching
  3. Prerendering (Page prefetching)
<link rel="dns-prefetch" href="//somewidget.example.com">
<link rel="prefetch" href="//example.com/future-image.jpg">
<link rel="prerender" href="//example.com/future-page.html"
Published on Mar 23, 2021

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