This is real news that impacts everyone with a website. That means just about everyone.
Google and every SEO "expert" has been preaching this for several years now; site speed is critical. We've monitored website page speed for our clients for years because we've suspected it was a key ranking factor even though we could not verify it. Finally, Google has made it 100% clear; speed is of significant importance to them.
You can see why. The faster a site, the better the user experience and the less computing power it takes for Google to index (scan) your site. After all, with an estimated 130 Trillion pages on the internet (yes trillion), search engines have to regularly come with new ways to decide what sites get the search "juice."
Google has announced a plan to identify "slow" sites with a visible warning label when you go visit specific websites. Conversely, over time, they will award faster sites with a badge of honor for the distinction of being what they consider fast by their rules. As of this writing, they are still working out badging, but we predict sites may have to load in under one second to qualify.
It may not be rocket science, but it is safe to assume that speed is now one of the most prominent factors in their ranking algorithm, and it will become more critical in the future. You want to make sure, your site gets all the search juice it can, right?
At P5 Marketing, we focus on WordPress sites. We have new speed enhancement technology and are implementing this technology on all the websites we manage and host over the next few months. We're talking milliseconds fast. Unfortunately, that kind of speed is not a simple process. There is a myriad of factors to consider in achieving quick speeds.
6 Keys to WordPress Page Speed
1. High-quality web hosting makes a critical difference. While there are several business-class hosts available, the clear leader is WP Engine. We have used their services for several years. Their support is excellent and is located in Austin, Texas. They help with all server-related speed issues. They also provide a global content delivery network or CDN, which helps deliver more speed.
2. Themes and frameworks that are built for speed from the ground up. There are many great themes that are coded for speed. We use Astra as our go-to theme. Page builders must also be efficient and not put too high a coding load on the site. We use Beaver Builder as our page builder, rock solid and well-coded this framework is fast.
3. Image optimization is also essential. Images have to be properly sized and optimized for the web. There are several WordPress Plugins like Imagely and Short Pixel. We optimize all images on our site in real-time using Short-Pixel.
4. DNS hosting, security, and protection. Cloudflare is our tool of choice for this requirement. Cloudflare's suite of tools deliver real speed improvements. They integrate tightly with WP Engine and the next tool in our toolbox.
5. There are a host of WordPress plugins that help optimize WordPress for speed. They perform a wide range of functions. Some work well, some not so much. After much trial and error, we have settled on WP Rocket which works well with both Cloudflare and WP Engine.
6. The final step requires a talented developer. Every website is different and it takes a bit of skill to bring all these steps and tools together. It takes some custom coding to delay the loading of some parts of the code to bring down the page loading times. But, it can make a HUGE difference!
Look at the screen capture of our site, https://p5marketing.com and the speeds we are able to achieve with these 6 keys for our home page which is reasonably complex.
To Prove our Point - We show the results using two different tools for comparison:
Google Page Speed Insights for Desktop
We've just scratched the "speed" surface in this article, but we strongly encourage you to consider the importance of page speed in your website's future. We believe it one of the top five most important technical SEO factors affecting a site's ranking.
For a more detailed presentation of the data we recommend reading this recent article in Search Engine Journal.