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The Other Side of SEO: Website Performance Optimization

Website performance optimization is not a new topic, but the discussion is certainly more in focus than in the past because of increased competition and new SEO guidelines.

After the last update in Google’s search engine algorithm, fur was flying all over the place as SEO service providers and webmasters scrambled to come to terms with the changes. While there is no doubt that back-links are important, all of the work involved can go right down the tube if you website takes longer than more than 1 second to load…and that’s even longer than the latest report stating that now website visitors expect a webpage to load in 2/10’s of a second.

A slow-loading website does more than create a negative impression in your visitor’s mind; it also impacts your search engine ranking and interaction with the websites you need to create links with as well. However, the website content that Internet users expect is far more complex. These include viewer-customized adverts, dynamic content, full-screen images, streaming video and audio files.

While these features enhance the user experience, they also pose a nightmare scenario when it comes to page load speed. Website Performance Optimization (WPO) is more in the spotlight today because of the Web 2.0 technologies that have increased user interactivity which results in two-way content transfers.

A lot of attention has been given to image and text compression as well as using Content Delivery Networks (CDNs) to shorten the distance between the source and the person making the request. But in addition to these techniques, webmasters are finding the use of front-end optimization tools such as mod_pagespeed and Cloudflare beneficial.

Recently, Cloudflare has been busy developing two new tools; Polish for image optimization and RailGun that works to cache dynamic pages. Both of these tools can dramatically improve website performance. If you are using shared hosting, you should check the server requirements and your hosting company restrictions for the implementation guidelines for all of these services. Web hosting companies are also joining the fray with a bevy of Control Panel options to improve website performance for the clients.

As the competition for website visitors continues to increase, it’s clear that no single Silver Bullet exists (yet) that will address the diverse issues related to website search engine optimization and performance. However by using a combination of these tools in conjunction with the appropriate SEO strategies you can satisfy both your human and robotic website visitors demand for fast loading pages.