Discover How to Improve Your Page Rank and Site Traffic
With many dubbing Google as the “King of the Internet”, any changes they make to the way they rank a website catches everyone’s attention, including mine!
There are many ways to improve your page rank and traffic on your site, but in this post, I will concentrate on one major tip: decrease your site load time! If you’re wondering why, read on!
I guess I should start by defining what a Page Rank is… I know that when I first started blogging, I had no idea what this even meant, or how important it could be! Basically, “PageRank” is one of the methods Google uses to determine a page’s relevance or importance – basically, its popularity on the web. It’s a measurement that ranges from a rank of zero (you don’t have enough inbound links or you’re too new to have a rank at all) to a rank of ten (which means you’re one of the top sites on the internet). As a website owner, your goal should always be to climb the “PageRank” ladder!
Here are a few example values to help you understand this a little better: www.yahoo.com has a PageRank of 9, www.google.com has a PageRank of 10, www.microsoft.com has a PageRank of 9 and www.redcross.org has a PageRank of 8.
With that being said, it’s much easier said than done, right? Or maybe too much effort for you to bother? You may want to think twice about this one… I know I am!
Website/Page load time can now affect Google’s perception of your site when it comes to page rank, because Google now uses site speed in their search ranking algorithms. (Read this Google article for more information.)
Another reason for you to worry about how long your site takes to load is the fact that you could be losing traffic! Googld has added this new “page load speed” factor because people are generally not willing to sit and wait very long for a site to load, and I’m guilty of that myself… if I’m running a search on a topic, and the site I’m trying to access takes more than 5 seconds or so to load, I give up and go on to the next search result. We’re entering a phase of impatience when it comes to browsing the web, and for those of us trying to run an online business, this could potentially be a crippling factor!
Okay, so what can I do to improve my site load speed?
There are many tools available online that can help you determine just how fast your site loads, and one that I found recently is tools.pingdom.com. It really opened my eyes as to how slow my site has been loading, and the main culprit is the WordPress theme I’ve chosen to use for my site! This just goes to show you how important it is to choose your theme carefully – you should definitely factor in usability, design, and load time when picking your theme. At this point, I have to re-evaluate my own site, and probably do some research to find a theme that better suits me and the factors I mentioned, but still providing the look and feel that I’m going for. This also translates to quite a bit of work, so admittedly, I’ll probably procrastinate a bit, but it’s definitely one of my priorities for my own site.
If you’re facing a similar issue with your WordPress site, something that could help you is a caching plugin. There are many available (such as the highly recommended WP Super Cache, but the only one that’s worked successfully for me to date is the W3 Total Cache plugin. After installing and activating this plugin, my load speed went down considerably, though not as much as I would like, which is why I still have to consider changing my theme altogether, but you may not be in that boat yourself after trying out this plugin! I highly recommend it (you can download and install it from here).
To keep track, be sure to use Google’s Webmaster Tools. They’ve added a new feature under the ‘Labs’ menu called “Site performance” that will give you more information on the average time your website’s pages take to load as compared to most sites on the internet. Here’s a screenshot of my results:
One of the nice things about this tool is that it also provides some suggestions as to what could be done to speed up and optimize your pages. Google also has a page speed tool that you can install if you use Firebug that will provide full details and recommendations.
Well, I know I have a bit of work ahead of me now that I know my theme is definitely not the optimal theme to be using… have I given you something to think about? What kinds of changes might you make to your site to optimize it and improve user experience? Do you have other tips you may want to mention? I’d love to hear from you – feel free to leave a comment below!