Page speed insights and SEO?

Soldato
Joined
6 Jan 2006
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3,297
Location
Newcastle upon Tyne
I'm making some good progress with my website with regular blogs and some good useful content on there. I've installed Yoast SEO plugin on my WP site and corrected what I can but when I run one of the online SEO checkers its flagging up page load times as a problem. I ran the site through google and Im getting 58% for desktop and 39% for mobile. I checked the competitors above me and they all have higher speeds than mine, although some are only marginal to be fair.

How important is page load speeds for increasing Google ranking? I'm currently ranking 8th which is just on the first page but would like to get higher if possible (as does everyone!).

The site runs a theme I bought which I guess like any of the "general" themes they are quite bulky so could be slowing things down a bit? My site is hosted with TSO on their economy package which I know now gets a lot of mixed reviews as they were bought out by GD.

Anything I can look at that will improve things?

Thanks.
 
Soldato
Joined
28 Oct 2006
Posts
12,317
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Sufferlandria
Firstly, try and reduce any unnecessary loading: resize images to the size they are displayed at. There's no point in loading a 1024px wide image and displaying it at 400px wide. But remember that the images can be displayed at different sizes as the page scales for different screen sizes. Often it's smaller screen resolutions which display larger images because they'll be displayed full-width rather than a 50:50 column layout or something that will fit on a larger resolution.
Remove any unused plugins. Even if there's nothing on the page that the plugin is used for it can still take up processing time and load time.
Install a performance profiler plugin and check what the breakdown of your load time is. If there's any plugins causing a significant delay, try to remove them or find an alternative if you can.

Install a cache plugin like Wp Super Cache or Fastest Cache.
That will reduce load times by reducing the number of database requests for each page load.

Try setting up CloudFlare on it. The free tier will do what you need. Works similar to a caching plugin but stores the cached files on a fast CDN. Probably negates a lot of the benefits you'd get from the cache plugin but still worthwhile having both.

There's also ways to artificially increase load times (not actually increasing it but giving the appearance of a faster loading page)
Loading all javascript files async, having the css for the above-the-fold inline rather than loaded from an external file. There are plugins that will do this also.
 
Soldato
OP
Joined
6 Jan 2006
Posts
3,297
Location
Newcastle upon Tyne
Thanks for the detailed response @touch I'll work through the points and look at what I can implement myself thanks.

Google speed test suggested using a CDN so Cloudflare free tier looks ideal.
 
Associate
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25 Jun 2009
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Guernsey
If you’re loading any standard libraries (jQuery, Bootstrap, etc), load them from a commonly used CDN location... 1: it’ll mean it’s not being served up by your site and 2: a browser will be more likely to have it cached already from visiting another site.
 
Associate
Joined
1 Dec 2020
Posts
5
I found recently that the Elementor footer on my website slows it down. There was a clear difference when I removed it. Maybe things like that slows down your site too.
But I don't trust those metrics very much as the same speed checker returns two different results at two runs just a few seconds apart.
 
Permabanned
Joined
5 Jun 2010
Posts
15,459
All of this advice is really good, I am just adding my experience to it....with Google Pagespeed I get about 80 for mobile devices and 95 for desktops.

Firstly, try and reduce any unnecessary loading: resize images to the size they are displayed at. There's no point in loading a 1024px wide image and displaying it at 400px wide. But remember that the images can be displayed at different sizes as the page scales for different screen sizes. Often it's smaller screen resolutions which display larger images because they'll be displayed full-width rather than a 50:50 column layout or something that will fit on a larger resolution.
There are also plugins you can use to do this depending on how many images you upload, I use Imagify but it works directly with WP-Rocket (more on that later)
Remove any unused plugins. Even if there's nothing on the page that the plugin is used for it can still take up processing time and load time.
Install a performance profiler plugin and check what the breakdown of your load time is. If there's any plugins causing a significant delay, try to remove them or find an alternative if you can.
I also use a plugin called Asset Cleanup, you can choose per page what scripts to loads etc. If you have a contact page, you only need to load the scripts for that page when a user visits it, this plugin enables you to stop loading script etc site wide.

Install a cache plugin like Wp Super Cache or Fastest Cache.
That will reduce load times by reducing the number of database requests for each page load.
I have tried both of these but ended up paying for WP Rocket, it returned the best results for the least effort, it also works seamlessly with Imagify to compress and deliver webp images as you upload them.

Try setting up CloudFlare on it. The free tier will do what you need. Works similar to a caching plugin but stores the cached files on a fast CDN. Probably negates a lot of the benefits you'd get from the cache plugin but still worthwhile having both.
I also use Cloudlflare, the free version. There is also now a $5 dollar version with a built-in WordPress plugin which is basically a one click setup.

There's also ways to artificially increase load times (not actually increasing it but giving the appearance of a faster loading page)
Loading all javascript files async, having the css for the above-the-fold inline rather than loaded from an external file. There are plugins that will do this also.
WP Rocket and Asset Cleanup do this for me very well.
 
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