Optimizing your website for speed is a crucial part of SEO (Search Engine Optimization) that can lead to higher rankings in search, and more organic search traffic.

Unfortunately, website optimization is not always a trivial task, and can demand fairly intimate knowledge of PHP (or whatever), Linux, MySQL, benchmarking and profiling tools, SEO, servers, hosting, networks, .htaccess, and more.

The intellectual capital required to properly optimize a website is often not immediately available to small and medium businesses, who put their faith in the default performance of their CMS (Content Management System), and hosting service.

In general, a good CMS like WordPress or Drupal will offer pretty good performance on a decent hosting service. But, there are always significant performance gains to be made.

This article will talk about why website performance and speed are so important, and how to go about improving the performance of your own blog or website – with a focus on server side performance improvements (i.e. PHP, APC, MySQL, database configuration, server configuration, etc).

 

Speed, SEO & Google

The fact is that faster websites are favored by Google because they offer a better browsing experience. All other things being equal, a website that is faster will rank better in the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages).

Speed comes in three flavors:

  1. server
  2. transfer
  3. page

Online SEO tools focus on the second two because there is no way for them to know what’s happening on your server to generate webpages.

This can be a little confusing at first because a perfect SEO score on some of the SEO tools bears little to no relation to the actual time it takes to load a webpage.

Performance & speed

Many people focus on reducing transfer size because bandwidth and network latency are often huge speed bottlenecks.

But, there are often massive speed gains to be had by analyzing your code. Here is a step-by-step guide to improving the performance of your website on the server side:

  1. Use a good Web host – high quality shared hosting for low traffic, VPS and dedicated servers for medium and high traffic
  2. Benchmark and profile – for example, XHProf for PHP, Devel for Drupal
  3. Isolate and fix memory problems, CPU intensive functions, scripts, errors, etc
  4. Isolate and fix slow DB queries and optimize the database
  5. Cache files aggressively – reduce processing and server load by caching pages
  6. Gzip everything
  7. Implement a code accelerator or cache – i.e. APC (Alternative PHP Cache) for PHP

Ok, so I understand that for anyone even remotely allergic to code, this is going to be a tall order.

If coding, development, server configuration, PHP, HTML and anything else related to performance is not the core focus of your business, hire SEO Perth Expert to do it for you.