HOW FAST SITES RANK BETTER
How W3 Affinity’s Site Speed SEO Helped A House on a Rock Home Inspections Hit #1 in Their Market on Google.
How We Got Started
W3 Affinity met Juan, the owner of A House on a Rock, at a networking group in Richmond, Virginia back in 2012.
A House on a Rock needed website design and we were the right team for the job.
W3 & A House on a Rock reconnected in 2018 to do enhancements to the website.
A House on a Rock was on the first page for all their target keywords for home inspection when they came to us in 2018. Juan had done an excellent job doing DIY SEO on his site from a content perspective.
The competition was pretty steep in the top 3 and Juan’s activity of blogging, social sharing, and website updates just couldn’t top the leaders.
We came in with our audit and discovered the foundation SEO issue, site speed, to be the number one culprit of A House on a Rock’s ranking issues.
We devised a plan that would get the website to load in under 3 seconds, the results were amazing.
”W3’s work on our website was the defining factor that ranked us #1 for all our target keywords on Google.Juan J.Owner, A House on a Rock
”JUAN AT A HOUSE ON A ROCK IS A PICTURESQUE CLIENT FOR W3. A SMALL BUSINESS OWNER THAT IS DRIVEN BY HIS CLIENT’S HAPPINESS.John KellerCEO, W3 Affinity
Doing site speed audits are second nature over here at W3 Affinity.
We set up our tools and went to work on A House on a Rock’s Website just like any other day.
The Tools of the Trade
We utilize a number of SEO tools to ensure we’re seeing the big picture and all the moving parts that put it together. One tool that stands above the rest for testing site speed + giving a granular report on what needs to be done is GTMetrix. We rely on the data that comes out of this tool to grade our work.
When it comes to getting the work done, we rely on WP Speed of Light, or WPSOL, as a means to crunch the numbers.
The Process of Site Speed SEO
Every site is different, they all have their shortcomings, this site was no different. Server technology, compression issues, order issues with code, images not optimized. These are all items that we see in every audit, but the volume of these issues was severe on this site in particular.
We start by fixing the glaring issue that is behind the problem of site bloat & size. A House on a Rock had images that were entirely too big for website use.
Prescaling images to the appropriate DPI (72) and size that image to what it is needed for, cuts down on having to render an image that has 300 DPI or is thousands of pixels bigger than the space it’s fitting into. For instance, a 300 DPI jpg file that is 1000×1000 pixels can be around 4-10MB, however, when reduced to 72 DPI drops to under 1MB, typically around 150kb. When you have 10-15 images on a page, those numbers start to add up.
Next, we tackle the big compression issue, is this site gZipped? 99% of the time, no, they aren’t. This simple server-side fix can reduce load times by seconds!
Then we begin the minification & grouping process for CSS & JS files. Take caution during this stage, as your website may look odd if it can’t handle being minified. We minified the CSS, HTML & JS files for A House on a Rock successfully and the result was amazing.
- Compress & Scale images before uploading to the site
- gZip the website from the server
- Minify & Group JS, CSS & HTML files
This core group of changes is a big impact on how quickly a site loads and can help sitewide, not just on the home page. Here are our results and reward for site speed SEO on A House on a Rock.
Load Times Under 2 Seconds on a 2G Cell Connection!
We made over 100 changes to the A House on a Rock website over the course of 4 days. The original load time of over 7 seconds, site size of over 5MB, and over 180 requests to load the page wasn’t cutting it to rank in the top 3 for Juan’s target keywords. After all the work we had completed, we nailed a website with blazing fast load times. The final result was a 97% score in PageSpeed from a 730KB website that only needed 18 requests to load in under 2 seconds.
Rankings Grew to 1st Position for All Target Keywords
We know that a fast loading website does a lot for a business. It allows potential customers of the site to have a better experience, resulting in more conversions. It also results in higher rankings in the search engine. The site speed SEO work had put the nail in the coffin, A House on a Rock took 1st in all target keywords and is growing more through additional keywords gained as a result of the content SEO that Juan does for his business.