When you get into the higher echelons of Google ranking, there is very little difference between website quality once you’re on the first page or second. You and your neighbours all have well thought-out sites with good SEO practices.
The difference between second place and eighth, in many cases, is a matter of small tweaks you can do to your site.
Google looks at speed, amongst many other criteria, when choosing the ranking for your site.
If your website and your neighbour’s have almost similar rankings and your pages load faster, Google will rank your site higher because of that factor.
This small thing can make a big difference in your business.
One of the biggest roadblocks to fast loading is image size.
No, we’re not in the dial-up days when it took almost a minute to load some large pictures, but large photos can still take a measurably longer time than those that are compressed.
If your photo is just for decoration or for illustrating a point, use a site like Kraken.io to compress your photos. I use it a lot and I like it.
On the other hand, if you’re a retailer, a designer, or someone else who needs highly detailed photos, brush up on your Photoshop skills to compress your photos.
Another reason your site could be slower is if you’ve enabled caching.
This allows readers to load the last page all over again much faster, but if you’ve got new information on the page it will slow down considerably.
Finally, you can get a dedicated IP address. You can use a site like yougetsignal.com to find out how many other sites are sharing your IP address.
If there are a lot, that will keep your site from loading quickly. Ask your service provider to change to a dedicated IP.
The cost will be minimal, but the change can be amazing.
Jim Stewart is a leading expert in search engine optimisation. His business StewArt Media has worked with clients including Mars, M2 and the City of Melbourne.