When was the last time you used Google Developers Page Speed Insights or GTMetrix tool or YSlow to test your website speed? Do you know the high priority fixes that your web developer could or couldn’t manage without external help? If you run a test today and find a report like the one below it means your developer needs serious external help.
Server Response Time of more than 200 ms, can affect user experience and search engine ranking of your website to a great extent.
In the following figure, the server response time of a sample website is 1.8 seconds which is nine times more than the standard. This is the only factor that has led to the page speed score of 72 – an average performance. Apart from server response time issues, the developer of the website was able to address all the other medium and low priority fixes related to increasing speed himself. With this single area resolved, the website could score up to 90 or even more.
Low site load speed has a major impact on the user experience (UI) which in turn increases bounce rate followed by lower SERP rankings. In an article published on Moz blog community, Zoompf’s CEO – Mark Isham submitted a study report on the impact of pagespeed metrics on SEO performance.
This proves how important it is to know the latency factors that may slow down the response time of your server and then repair the damages. Watch this Caffeine update interview with Matt Cutts to learn how Google WebMaster tools and Pagespeed tools help you measure and improve site speed.
Following is the screenshot showing recommendations from Google developers for increasing the speed.
If you are not familiar with terms like application logic, database queries, slow routing, frameworks, and would still like to get the on-site optimization issue resolved, it is recommended that you consult a CDN (Content Delivery Network) specialist for content and networking optimization.
The objective is to reduce TTFB (Time to First Byte) i.e. the time to have HTML ready for rendering, by removing the need for additional processing on the original web server.
Improving site speed can be a tedious job if you want to perform source code minification, GZip compression, combining JS files, image compression, and file caching – all manually. The outcomes are never great compared to what results you yield with a professional CDN service on.
What is CDN
CDN stands for Content Delivery Network. Global CDN providers have powerful data centers located across the world which speeds up content delivery and avoids dependence on buffer-cache. By using dynamic profiling, traffic analysis, resource consumption pattern and frequency, a CDN ensures that frequently used resources are always served directly from the memory. And there is no delay in page browsing due to slow processing at the web server end.
The Cloud CDN service uses various techniques to accelerate page rendering and reduce latency ‘on the fly’.
The techniques include –
- Image compression and compaction
- Session reuse optimization
- TCP Optimization and connection pre-pooling
- On-the-fly File compression
How CDN helps improve SEO
There are direct and indirect correlations between SEO, content and networking optimization. First and foremost, a content delivery network increases site speed by various means and therefore, optimizes your SEO effort.
CDN service providers use various optimization techniques (screenshot below) to speed up page rendering and reduce network latency. They minimize the number of open connections to your web server and enable content caching, geo-distribution capabilities to accelerate page rendering process.
Dynamic and Intelligent Caching
CDN improves the delivery of dynamically generated HTML content with its intelligent caching opportunities. If your website is CMS based and database driven, using CDN can help classify the HTML components as static and dynamic pages and then, deliver static pages like ‘Home’ page, ‘About Us’ page, and ‘Contact’ page directly from the CDN. This reduces the burden of dynamically regenerating pages for every new browser request for each user.
To begin with, CDN’s advanced caching features scrutinize page usage patterns, changes in the dynamically generated page content, under-utilized caching areas and then retain cache copy of the HTML objects on a caching network.
The caching policies can further be manipulated for better control on the TTFB. With a simple mouse-click, you can manually clean all cache objects and ensure instant freshness for updated content. Moreover, you can define caching directives, control automation validation cycles for caching objects, and enable overriding options by controlling “Vary:User-Agent” headers.
Thus, a CDN service provider is able to serve content with zero processing time directly from the nearest data center. This significantly improves TTFB followed by user experience (UX) and search engine rankings.
Moreover, CDN reduces the number of open sessions with your web server. This session optimization decreases server load and avoids unnecessary latency by reusing open sessions.
CDN provider restricts bad bots
In addition to site speed improvement, a good CDN service provider would also be able to avoid content scraping by protecting bad bots from stealing your website content. This also limits the unwanted link spamming bots from damaging your SERP rankings in a number of ways. There are spammers who damage site’s trust and authority ratings by creating spam links in comments and forum discussions.
The success in any SEO campaign depends on a number of doable and not-doable on-page SEO initiatives. Some of them are routine activities that can be managed by your developer using internal resources. Some of them require additional technical help. Others are highly complex and need proper expertise and infrastructure to implement.
Reducing server response is one such high priority yet complex action item that every website owner should plan to outsource to the CDN experts. The providers can better analyze your site and take reasonable actions without you or your developer worrying about the complexities of managing content caching, image compression, JS, CSS, HTML minification, and other fixes.
With CDN service enabled, you have more time and opportunities to focus on the content improvement and traffic generation of your website. Let the professionals do their best to optimize speed related action items and add value to your overall SEO efforts.