Website Page Speed Optimization Guide

A modern workspace with a laptop and desktop next to a plant and water bottle

 

Website page speed is a critical component of web performance. It can make or break a user’s experience on your website as well as impact conversion rates and sales. Page speed is so important that the first five seconds of a page’s load time has the highest impact on conversion rates! To learn more about page speed, why it’s important for your business and tips for page speed optimization, keep reading.

What Is Page Speed and Why Is It Important?

Page speed measures how long it takes for the content on a page to load. It is also referred to as “page load time” and “time to first byte.” Page speed is a foundational component of web infrastructure. Having excellent page speed can help drive conversions and aid in successful web performance. On the flip side, when a page takes too long to load, visitors are more likely to abandon the site and find information elsewhere, which can lead to higher bounce rates.

Aside from impacting user experience, page speed also affects how search engines crawl, rank and index a website. If a site or page loads slowly, then search engines may not have the crawl budget to crawl all of the content, which can also affect indexation. 

What is the Best Page Response Time?

If you’re wondering how long a page should take to fully load, the simple answer is the faster the better (or under four seconds). According to Moz:

  • 0-4 seconds is best for conversion rates
  • Pages that load under one second convert approximately 2.5 times higher than pages loading slower than five seconds
  • Conversion rates double for sites that load under one second compared to sites with a two-second loading time

As you can see, seconds and even fractions of seconds can affect page speed. Thankfully, there are steps that you can take to improve your website page speed, drive more conversions and provide a positive user experience. 

Three smartphones displaying three different client websites for a digital marketing agency

How to Improve Website Speed in 7 Steps 

First, to analyze your current page speed, you can perform a free website speed test by utilizing Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool. From there, we recommend the following best practices to improve website speed and web performance: 

1. Enable compression – Compressing files to reduce the sizing of CSS, HTML and JavaScript files larger than 150 bytes improves page speed.

2. Reduce redirects – When a page redirects to another page on your site, visitors may wait longer while the HTTP request-response cycle completes. Steps to take:

  • Fix internal linking
  • Eliminate redirect chains

3. Remove render-blocking JavaScript – If your browser finds a script while rendering a page, it has to pause and fetch the script before continuing to load. Avoid using render-blocking JavaScript, especially above-the-fold. 

4. Minify JavaScript, CSS and HTML – Optimize your code by removing spaces, commas and other unnecessary characters to improve page speed.

5. Leverage browser caching – Browsers cache a lot of information so that when a visitor comes back to your site, the entire page doesn’t need to reload. 

6. Improve server response time – The optimal server response time is under 200 ms. Server response time is affected by several factors, including the amount of traffic on your site, the type of software your server uses and your hosting solution. 

  • Check for slow database requests, slow routing and lack of memory

7. Optimize images – Make sure that your images are in an appropriate format, no larger than they need to be and compressed for the web. 

  • PNGs are typically better for graphics with fewer than 16 colors
  • JPEGS are best for photographs

Want to Maximize Your Web Traffic? Contact LSM!

Page speed is crucial due to its impact on search ranking, user experience, and can impact overall website conversions. At LSM, we provide search engine optimization solutions, website design and development services, and more to help businesses boost rankings, increase traffic, drive revenue growth and increase conversions. To learn more about page speed optimization and how our digital marketing agency can help your business thrive online, contact us today! 

LSM Wins 2020 Best of Brentwood Award

LSM Best of Brentwood Award

LSM has been selected for the 2020 Best of Brentwood Award in the Internet Marketing Service category by the Brentwood Award Program.

Each year, the Brentwood Award Program identifies companies that have achieved exceptional marketing success in their local community.

Various sources of information were gathered and analyzed to choose the winners in each category. Winners were determined based on information gathered internally by the Brentwood Award Program and data provided by third parties.

About Brentwood Award Program

The Brentwood Award Program is an annual awards program honoring the achievements and accomplishments of local businesses throughout the Brentwood area. Recognition is given to those companies that have shown the ability to use their best practices and have implemented programs to generate competitive advantages and long-term value.

Read the full press release here.

About LSM

A Premier Google Partner and Facebook Agency Partner, LSM drives revenue growth for multi-location businesses through user-friendly websites, scalable advertising campaigns, and proven search engine optimization, review management, and content marketing strategies. Our easy-to-use client reporting dashboard integrates with CRM & PMS systems to provide 24/7 access to key marketing analytics, including the origin and value of customers generated from our work. Founded in 2006, our culture inspires us to be bold in the strategies we employ and take pride in the results we produce. Contact LSM today and discover what we can achieve together!

LSM Wins WebAward for Third Consecutive Year

 

LSM Wins ‘Standard of Excellence’ Award

Nashville, TN: LSM’s proud to announce that the website platform we built for Dental Marketing & Management Group (DMMG) a dental support organization providing clinical and non-clinical services to 22 dental offices across 4 states, won the ‘Standard of Excellence’ Award at the 2019 WebAwards! This is the third year in a row that our work has been recognized for a WebAward!

Hosted by the Web Marketing Association, the WebAward Competition is the premier award recognition program for website developers and advertising agencies. Now in its 17th year, the WebAward program is the longest running annual website award competition in the world! Each site is assigned to three or more expert judges for evaluation.  The judges are notified of the mission statement and targeted audience for the website. They are not informed who submitted the entries or which categories the site is submitted into. The judges then reviews the website by assuming the role of a targeted user. After analyzing the site, they enter their results and record their observations and comments.

The website platform, combined with LSM’s search engine optimization services, helped DMMG increase YoY organic website traffic by 74% and online appointment requests by 19%!

Contact us if you’d like to learn more about how LSM’s website development and dental marketing services can help you drive new patients to your dental practice.

 

Do PPC Campaigns Affect Website Rankings?


Often times when speaking with folks about LSM’s services, I hear this question:

  • “Will running PPC (pay-per-click) ads help my organic search rankings, and vice versa, does SEO help my paid advertising efforts?”

The short answer to these questions is: directly, no. However, there are components of each of these scenarios that CAN affect the other indirectly. Let’s take a deeper look.


In a Search Engine Results Page (SERP), the first listings you typically see are paid advertisements that are served through auction networks like Google AdWords or Bing Ads. These ads are what we refer to as pay-per-click (PPC) ads, meaning the advertiser only pays when a visitor clicks on the ad.

    Beneath these advertisements are the local map listings (otherwise known as the “Local Pack” section) and the organic search results. These results are populated based on the search engine’s own proprietary algorithm, and it’s impossible to directly “buy” any visibility or placement in this portion of the SERP (though Google recently tested running ads in the Local Pack section).

     This is where search engine optimization (SEO) comes into play. Agencies such as Local Search Masters perform SEO best practices to help inform search engines that your website has a better answer to the user’s search query than other sites on the web.


While there’s no direct relationship between paid traffic and improved search rankings, having any traffic to your site can help signal to Google’s algorithm that your site is trustworthy. Another positive side effect of running PPC campaigns is that you have much greater insight into which keywords generate revenue – this knowledge is a gold mine for optimizing those pages even further organically. Andrew Girdwood, Media Innovations Director at DigitasLBi says, “It is true to say that a combined PPC and SEO campaign can drive more traffic than two separate [PPC] campaigns.”


There’s a bit more tangible evidence that a well SEO’d website will perform better as a destination for a paid advertising campaign. We predominantly support two ad networks: Google Adwords and the Facebook Ads network. With Google Adwords, a large component that determines the cost of a click deals with “Quality Score,” a number between 1-10 that Adwords gives your ad based on numerous factors, such as expected click-through-rate, ad relevance, and landing page experience, the most pertinent factor here. If you have a well-optimized landing page, your quality score will improve, which can increase the number of ad impressions/clicks and reduce the amount of money it takes to garner those clicks, i.e. reduced CPC. Facebook also employs a rating factor called “Relevance Score” that acts similarly to Google’s Quality Score.


Remember, Google and other search engines like Bing and Yahoo strive to serve the most relevant search results they possibly can based on what a user is looking for and what content is available. Jim Yu from Search Engine Land says, “By intelligently integrating your paid and organic search activity, synergies provide greater results in SERP domination.” A unified SEO and PPC strategy can help both organic efforts and paid efforts simultaneously if it’s done correctly.

What is an Ad Extension and How Can It Help Your Business?


Want to give your prospective customers more reasons to click on your ads? Ad extensions do just that.  These extra pieces of information – such as your business address, website or phone number – can be added to your pay-per-click ads to better serve your customers’ needs.

Google and other search engines will tend to rank ads with extensions higher than ads without. Why? Google values the quality of an advertisement when calculating its rankings. Since ad extensions provide more information to a customer, they are viewed as superior ads.


Ads in higher positions  have higher visibility and lead to higher click-through rates. Below are some of the types of ad extensions you can use to provide more value to both your customers and your advertisements.


Call extensions place a small button on the side of your ad that allows customers to directly call your business from mobile devices. A call extension would work great if your business requires customers to make phone calls to either purchase products or schedule services.


Location extensions show the address of your business and help nearby customers find you. This type of extension works well if your  business has multiple locations and you want your customers to know when they’re in close proximity.


Review extensions show your business’s positive reviews from third-party sites directly in the advertisement. If your business has great reviews or provides a product or service that many consumers research before purchasing, this extension would be useful for you.


Callout extensions let you show additional descriptive text about what your business offers directly underneath your ad. If your business runs any special offers and wants to share them with your customers, callout extensions would be ideal for your ads.


Sitelink extensions provide links to different pages of your website. They give your customers quicker access to the content  they want to see as it pertains to your ad.


Google offers several other extensions that your business can use. Have a mobile app? The app extension links directly to the app store where customers can download it.  Want to show off the 5-star rating of your e-commerce site? A seller rating extension shows the overall rating of your online business. Have high quality survey results to share? A consumer rating extension highlights your survey results.  All of these extensions serve  specific purposes, so it’s important to identify what exactly your customers might want to see before adding an extension. By doing so, you stand to serve better ads that produce higher value.

7 Simple, Informative Videos That Answer the Question, “What is SEO?”


First time hearing that weird acronym, SEO? Sure you’ve been told it stands for Search Engine Optimization, but who actually knows what that means? Don’t worry! SEO is easier to understand than you would think.


I too struggled initially to understand what SEO actually meant before I started working at a search engine marketing agency. SEO involves practices and methods intended to boost your website up in a search engine’s rankings. I compiled a series of some of the best and most insightful videos to better help beginners understand SEO quickly.


What is SEO? This video is a great place to start as SearchEngineLand.com developed it in conjunction with the online educator, Common Craft.


So SEO helps boost your website’s position in search engine rankings. As explained in the video, there are a variety of techniques and practices that go into reaching the top. The first of which involves keywords.


This video, created by Staples, quickly  explains how you can determine the best keywords for your business.


This video, from a Business Blueprint event, shows how to use those keywords and optimize your website around them.


As we previously learned, search engines value quality. One way to improve the quality of your website is by creating great content. In this video, WordPress Eagle offers suggestions on how to create content and why it helps your ranking.


Backlinks, or links to your website from other websites, are another way to gain higher rankings. This video from JS Marquis examines how quality links make your website look great in the eyes of Google.


A relatively new development to SEO is the increasing relevance of social media. As social media continues to be integrated into our daily lives, search engines are placing more value on a business’ social media use. This video, created by SiteProNews helps explain how and why your social media use affects your SEO ranking.


You may be wondering, are there any other ways to boost my search rankings?


While the previous videos explained how to boost your rankings organically, search engines allow for businesses to pay to occupy one of the top 4 spots on a specific search. This video with Hal Varian, the Chief Economist of Google, helps explain how Google’s pay-per-click model works.


For additional information on SEO, click here, or call us today at 615-387-9156.

LSM Speaks at Woman’s Club of Nashville

The Nashville Chapter of the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO) held their monthly luncheon on July 29, 2015 at the Woman’s Club of Nashville. The members in attendance were all local businesswomen interested in improving their businesses through digital marketing.

NAWBO asked Matt Job, Chief Marketing Officer of Local Search Masters, to present at this meeting on various aspects of digital marketing. Matt explained the importance of search engine marketing and search engine optimization, while allowing room for questions and discussion among the audience. Some topics he covered were:

  1. Why businesses should consider investing in organic SEO
  2. The importance of SEO optimization for websites to increase their rankings on  important, non-branded search queries
  3. A rundown of Google’s search engine result pages (SERPs) and how the format alters across devices and search queries (mobile vs. desktop, organic vs. paid)

The presentation ended with a workshop of which the audience participated in a group activity that asked to recall important points that Matt touched upon previously. The helpful presentation provided these women with a basic foundation of digital marketing skills that they can now use to improve their businesses’ online presence.

We really appreciate NAWBO for inviting LSM to this workshop and for providing a great community for these dedicated businesswomen to expand their businesses. To learn more about the Nashville Chapter of NAWBO, please visit: http://nashvillenawbo.com/.

About Local Search Masters

Local Search Masters (LSM) is a digital marketing agency located in Nashville, TN that specializes in organic SEO, local search marketing, paid-per-click advertising, social media management, online reputation management, and franchise development marketing for franchise systems, local businesses and large corporations with multiple locations. For additional information about our agency, contact us today!

LSM Named a 2015 Google Partners All Star

Local Search Masters a Google Partner All-Star

For the second time in three years, Local Search Masters, has been named a Google Partners All-Star

As part of the awards package for being an All-Star, LSM has received an all-expenses-paid invitation to Google’s All-Stars Summit at Google HQ in Mountain View, California. The summit will include a tour of the “Googleplex”, one-on-one consultations with a few of Google’s online marketing experts, advanced training and, hopefully, lots of free Google merchandise!

“We’re very excited and proud about the opportunity to get back out to Mountain View and spend time with our Google Agency Partners and other Google personnel” says CEO Trevor Emerson.

LSM is a member of the Google Partners network, a membership earned by passing Google advertising exams, adhering to paid search marketing best practices, and delivering quality results for our clients. Beyond providing us with the opportunity to receive all-expenses-paid travel to fun locations, our partnership with Google provides us access to additional personnel, tools, trainings and special events.

Upon our return from Google HQ, LSM will revisit this post and include additional information about certain things we learned and how they can help businesses generate more business from their web presence.

LSM Named Top Local SEO Agency

LSM Recognized as Top Local SEO & PPC Agency

Local Search Masters (LSM) was recently named one of the top local SEO companies of 2015 by Clutch, a Washington, DC based research firm focused on technology, marketing and digital industries. The results were based on multiple qualitative and quantitative factors such as company experience, industry recognition, client roster, client interviews and overall market presence.

“Both large corporations and mom-and-pops need a strong local search presence to generate leads and sales from surrounding areas and maintain a positive online reputation,” stated Tim Clarke, Research Manager at Clutch. “The firms listed in this report have all demonstrated success with local SEO and PPC campaigns, which have generated overwhelmingly positive returns for clients.”

Local Search Masters appreciates the recognition and we look forward to continuing to provide excellent SEO and pay-per-click advertising services to our clients.

About Local Search Masters

Local Search Masters (LSM) is a digital marketing agency headquartered in Nashville, TN that specializes in organic SEO, local search marketing, paid-per-click advertising, social media management, online reputation management and franchise development marketing for franchise systems, local businesses and large corporations with multiple locations. For additional information about our agency, contact us today!

LSM Speaks at Vanderbilt University

LSM Discusses Search Engine Marketing at Vanderbilt

Cherrie Clark is a professor at Vanderbilt University who works in, and is the director of, the Program of Managerial Studies. One of the classes Professor Clark is teaching this semester is ‘Principles of Marketing,’ an undergraduate course where students learn how to market for non-profits and for businesses. Throughout the course of the semester, students have explored various marketing topics, including pay-per-click-advertising on Google and organic search engine optimization (SEO).

Matt Job, Chief Marketing Officer of LSM, was asked to visit Professor Clark’s class on April 7th, 2015, to present important information about the world of search engine marketing discussing topics such as:

1. The breakdown of Google’s search engine result pages (SERPs) and how the format changes across devices and search queries (mobile vs. desktop, organic vs. paid, national vs. local)

2. Why businesses should consider investing in organic SEO

3. Why certain businesses should consider advertising via Google’s pay-per-click (PPC) advertising platforms (Google Search Network, Google Display Network, Google Shopper Network)

4. Best practices for SEO optimizing a website to increase its positioning on important, non-branded search queries

5. How to develop efficient Google PPC and remarketing campaigns to optimize cost-per-conversion rates

Matt delved into the specifics of SEM and SEO, stressing the importance of both and providing examples while also creating a dialogue for students to ask several questions and express interest. Given the growing importance of companies needing to market themselves online, the discussion provided students with a foundation of digital marketing knowledge that they can utilize in internship and full-time positions

For more information about Local Search Masters you can visit http://localsearchmasters.com.