|There is a lot of information about SEO (Search Engine Optimization), social media marketing and other ways to increase your website ranking in the search engines
The correct term for website ranking in this context is actually SERP but website ranking is easier to grasp.
SERP, an abbreviation of Search Engine Results Page, is the term we use to describe where our website shows up in search engines when we search for a certain phrase or keyword.
Better website ranking can be obtained by providing a better user experience
Although SEO and social marketing are very important aspects to get your website noticed in the search engines they are not the only thing that counts.
They are in fact just pieces of a puzzle. The two words that should be on the top of your priority list are: User Experience.
I believe that more then ever Google and other search engines want their users, which are your potential website visitors, to have a good experience.
It makes sense doesn’t it? Search engines are putting the needs of their users first and therfor so should you. Ultimately that will result in a higher website ranking for your website.
A good user experience dictates that you will have to have good content which is SEO optimized. Content is still king but at the same time that is really only the beginning.
Whenever a search engine forwards a user to your website the ball in is your court. And the search engine will be watching your website to see how you treat your forwarded visitor.
It is your job to make the user experience as good as possible. The better the experience the longer your visitors will stay and the more they will come back for more. That makes the search engines happy and to thank you they will push up your website position in the enormous list of search results.
So how can you improve the user experience for your website?
There’s actually quite a few things you can do but in this post I want to talk about the speed of your website. You see, waiting is something that everbody hates. The faster you can serve the information your visitor is looking for the better the user experience will be.
Did you know that the bounce rate correlates closely with the website loading time? The slower your website, the more people will leave right on the first page they visit. Every 0.1 second makes an important difference.
Think about that for a second.
A faster website will result in a better user experience which will result in visitors staying longer on your website leading to a higher website ranking leading to more organic visitors.
Obviously it helps if your website is hosted on a fast server with a fast internet connection and if your website is optimized for speed.
If you are using a Content Management System like Joomla, WordPress or Drupal then cranking up the loading speed of your website is easy.
Here are three easy methods that will speed up your website without you having to spend money.
1) Use a caching/minifying plugin
When using a CMS the first method to improve the loading speed is by installing a plugin that optimizes caching and implements code compression (minifying).
Spend some time working through the documentation and after installing make sure you test your website to be sure everything is working as it should be.
Most of the times you can leave the default settings as they are. Feel free to test a bit, as long as you verify that the frontend of your website is (still) working, you’re good. You can just as easily revert back to your older setting.
This method will give your website a huge speed boost so it is really worth setting this up.
2) Use a Lazy Loading plugin
If you are using pictures on your website (and you should) then optimizing the pictures is a no brainer.
In addition, if you use a lot of pictures in a page or post, you could install a plugin for ‘lazy loading’. This means that pictures above the fold are loaded right away and the rest of the pictures are loaded when the user scrolls down. Simple but effective.
There are several easy ways to increase your website ranking in the search engines.
3) Use a Content Delivery Network
Last but not least I recommend you start using a Content Delivery Network (CDN).
Imagine your website is hosted in the US and somebody is visiting from South Africa. Due to international lines this might result in a slow loading website.
A CDN takes care of that by caching your website on their international network of servers. That means your visitor from South Africa now loads your website from a server in his neighbourhood. Much faster!
The best part is that some CDNs have a free plan or free trial period. It may not be the fastest option they have available but it will sure help your website load faster around the globe.
I use the free plan of CloudFlare for my own website and I can highly recommend them.
By the way W3 Total Cache and the CloudFlare CDN work really well together so do use them together. You will surely notice the difference if you do.