There is an immeasurable number of factors that play a role in ranking your website in search engine result pages (SERPs). From keywords to backlinks, content quality to social presence, they all have an impact on your SEO efforts. One aspect that often gets overlooked is the source code or HTML of the site.
When optimizing HTML code, there is no greater importance than how quickly your website loads. All that time you spent on the design and layout will be for nothing if your page doesn’t load in a timely manner and this is true for users and search robots alike.
We’ve compiled a few key points to keep in mind when you’re trying to optimize your site speed for organic search.
Server Side Includes
SSI’s are an easy and low maintenance way to add the same content across all pages. ie. headers and footers. But you are definitely not limited to just those two elements. You can use Server Side Includes for contact info and your logo, too. Having parts of your site loaded on the server will not only reduce the size of your web pages, it will also make updating the content that much easier as well because you will only have to update one file.
Custom CSS is what gives a website its style and orders various elements on the page so that they work together. When a website has different design elements for each section of the site, it can become quite messy when these pages use inline CSS. Similar to the SSI, External CSS serves two purposes. Firstly, it keeps your site from getting bogged down with a lot of code every time a new page is loaded and secondly, it makes your life easier if you have to make any changes to your site.
In today’s world, it’s become common knowledge that your website needs to be mobile-ready. As the number of mobile devices and users continues to increase, so does the sophistication of website development for smaller screens. We’ve written about the topic in past posts and there are countless industry experts (including ones from Google) touting the importance of responsive design for SEO.
It has become an expectation, not a bonus, to have a website that functions across all devices.
Responsive design has become so prevalent that Google announced back in November that they have added a snippet to their mobile search results highlighting the mobile-friendly sites. So having a responsive stylesheet does more than just impact the user experience, it impacts your search rankings.
Image File Size
Images add a great deal of context and colour to your site and break up the monotony of the content. Images are also used to easily convey information and enhance the style of the page. But, if the image is too big it will eat up precious load time and cost you visitors before they even see your beautiful page.
If you keep image files small (under 50 kbs), this will keep your load times down.
You don’t have to sacrifice image quality to keep things compact, keeping the image between 75 and 100 pixels won’t jeopardize the quality of your picture. And if it needs to be on every page, consider using an SSL.
With the simplicity of many Content Management Systems (CMS) out there, the issue of file names is obsolete. For those of you with a hard-coded HTML site, properly naming your folders is hugely important. The importance of concise naming and using hyphens in place of underscores to separate words can’t be understated. Google loves short, informative URLs and rewards websites that adhere to that standard.
Whether you’re a developer looking to give your sites an added boost or you’re wanting to improve some of the technical aspects of your SEO strategy, these tips can separate you from your competition. Building a strong foundation for successful SEO begins with the HTML, so take the time to get it right and the rest of the optimizing will be a breeze.
Need help with your optimization and HTML? Our professional SEO services can help you. Get in touch and let us know your issue.