Website loading time plays an important role in Google Algorithm. The faster a web page loads, the better rankings it has on Google (providing that all other factors are intact). There are many ways to improve a web page loading time. In this blog post we will share one of the fastest ways to improve a website loading speed by implementing a server-side compression (GZip compression). This method applies to Apache servers only. If you run a Windows server (IIS server), you may want to look into other ways to accomplish this: www.technet.microsoft.com.
Here is what Google said on their official Webmaster Blog on April 9, 2010 regarding the website loading speed:
"You may have heard that here at Google we're obsessed with speed, in our products and on the web. As part of that effort, today we're including a new signal in our search ranking algorithms: site speed. Site speed reflects how quickly a website responds to web requests."
While it is very important to make sure that your website's coding is clean, all of your graphics and media files are optimized for the web and you are using proper redirects, sometimes it is difficult to keep the website's loading speed at the recommended maximum (The consensus is that your site should not take more than 5-6 seconds to load. This maximum is based on the user experience tests and SEO tests). You can check your website loading speed using Pingdom test for a page load time. Here are some other useful online SEO tools that you can use to improve your technical SEO.
Server-side compression (Gzip compression in this case) is a simple way to save bandwidth and speed up your website. It is very easy to use and you can do it yourself if you host your site on Apache server and know how to edit files on your FTP server. All you need to do is to create and/or edit the .htaccess file by adding the following code:
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE text/plain
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE text/html
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE text/xml
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE text/css
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/xml
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/xhtml+xml
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/rss+xml
Apache has two compression options:
mod_deflate - easy to setup and is widely used
mod_gzip - a bit more more powerful and gives you an option to pre-compress your content
Once you modify your .htaccess file, you can verify your compression by going to http://www.gidnetwork.com/tools/gzip-test.php
Enjoy this know-how and let your users have a better experience on your site!