February 28th, 2019

How Page Speed Is Impacting Your Dental SEO

Are you looking for a good way to improve your website’s optimization? In my opinion, page speed is an excellent place to start and is well worth the effort. Plus, there are several things that non-developers can do to address speed concerns on a website. In this article, we are going to talk about 3 things to consider when working on your dental website page speed: performance budget, optimization, and caching.

Performance Budget

Whether you’re starting a new website or working on your existing dental website, having a target is incredibly helpful. We call that target your “performance budget.” A performance budget sets the minimum standards you are willing to accept for your website performance. Like a monetary budget, sometimes you need to decide if there are things you can live without to stay within the recommended limits.

There are a handful of things to consider when deciding on a performance budget, but we think an ideal target is a website that loads in under 3 seconds and is less than 3 MB in size. You can easily test your current site by using a tool like https://webpagetest.org or https://tools.pingdom.com to see where you have room for improvement when optimizing your dental website.

A lot of things can quickly consume your performance budget and contribute to your page speed. The biggest culprits that tend to slow down a website are often

  • Images
  • Videos
  • Carousels
  • Image galleries
  • Complex design elements

Making sure you are using the correct file types and optimizing your images can help drastically. JPEG images are generally smaller than most other file types and should make you think twice if you really need that animated GIF or transparent PNG.

Be extra careful when using social media widgets on your website. Often times they are unnecessarily loading images or videos and can really slow your dental website.

seo checklist

Optimization

Not to be confused with on-page SEO and things like title tags, optimization in this article refer to making your site faster by utilizing processes and tools such as minified files, compression, and good habits of when and how to add new content.

One major thing you can do to optimize your site is to minify your files or remove all the unnecessary whitespace from the files. This is especially good for large CSS files. A good developer might have a tool to help with this, but not everyone has a developer friend. In that case, we recommend using a plugin for WordPress like Autoptomize. Minifying your HTML and CSS almost always has a performance benefit, but be careful when minifying your JavaScript files as it can cause some functionality break if done incorrectly.

When it comes to images; it’s not only important to use the proper file types, it’s also crucial to compress images to reduce the time it takes them to load. We recommend using a tool like https://imageoptim.com/mac.

As for adding content to your dental website, it is helpful to develop and practice good habits. Some common guidelines we recommend include limiting the amount of videos on any given page and making sure to check each new page of content with a tool like Pingdom (link above) to double check that you’re still within your performance budget.

Caching

Now that your images and videos are as small as possible and you have minified your website files, the last thing to consider is caching. We touched on this briefly in our last video, but caching can make a dramatic improvement on your site. Caching is the process of saving versions of your website either in your users’ browsers or on your server to help reduce load time and minimize server requests.

If your content doesn’t change very often, caching will benefit you the most. Caching is easily accomplished by choosing a good web host like https://www.getflywheel.com and utilizing a good service or plugin like Autoptomize or WP Super Cache. All of these options will get you similar results, and as we mentioned earlier, you can always test their efficacy by using a tool like Pingdom.

We firmly believe that website performance is a key element to dental SEO and understanding how your website is performing is essential. But we also understand that the world of website speed can be complicated. We’re here to help. If you have questions or want to know how your website stacks up, feel free to send us any questions you may have.

are you sure your dental SEO is doing alright?