How to Speed Up Your Website for Better SEO: A Comprehensive Guide

by | Sep 20, 2023

How To Make Your Website Fast

As digital landscapes evolve, so do the factors that influence your website’s visibility on search engines like Google. One crucial element that often goes unnoticed is website speed. Google places great importance on the loading time of your web pages. This is especially significant since the implementation of Google’s mobile-first indexing. In a world where smartphone searches are increasingly dominating, a fast website isn’t just a nice-to-have—it’s a necessity.

If your site isn’t loading fast, this could very much be one of the contributing factors in why your website isn’t getting any traffic.

Why Speed Matters in SEO

Since 2017, Google has started to rank search results based on the mobile versions of pages. Considering that smartphone searches overtook desktop searches for the first time in 2015, it’s clear that Google aims to provide an optimal user experience for mobile users. Sluggish websites not only frustrate visitors but can also hurt your search engine rankings. Let’s dive into the practical ways you can improve your website’s speed for better SEO.

With the release of Google’s Core Web Vitals Score, 2023 and 2024 will be years where speed matters even more for SEO.

10 Ways to Improve Website Speed for Better SEO

1. Implement a Content Delivery Network (CDN)

A CDN distributes your website’s static files, such as CSS or JavaScript, across a network of global servers. When a user visits your site, files are fetched from the server closest to their location, accelerating page load times. This is especially useful for businesses that serve an international audience.

We like to use Cloudflare here at 3am Ideas because it’s relatively easy to set up and can be used for free. Established businesses and bigger companies are recommended to go on a paid plan with their CDN provider.

2. Minify CSS and JavaScript

By removing unnecessary line breaks and extra spaces, you can streamline the size of your CSS and JavaScript files. Use tools like CSS Minifier/Compressor to automate this process.

If you’re a 3am Ideas SEO client you already have access to our powerful plugins to help your site with this, and if you’re not we recommend WP Rocket. Find out more about other WordPress plugins we recommend.

3. Enable GZIP Compression

Web servers like Apache and IIS offer GZIP compression for HTML, CSS, and JavaScript files. This technique significantly reduces the amount of data sent from the server to the user’s browser.

If your website is on cPanel, look for the “Optimize Website” option.

4. Use CSS Image Sprites

Combining multiple images into a single sprite sheet reduces server round-trips, as only one image needs to be loaded. This can result in a smoother user experience and faster load times.

While not as important anymore, it is still an effective way of reducing how much server space your images take up, and how quickly they load.

5. Optimise Plugins

Too many plugins can slow down your website. Regularly review and remove any outdated or redundant plugins to improve website performance.

We often inherit websites that are bloated with plugins that are often not even used anymore.

As well as posing a serious cybersecurity risk, using outdated and redundant plugins just slows down your website.

6. Choose the Right Hosting Plan

Shared hosting plans might not meet the demands of websites with high traffic. Consider upgrading to dedicated hosting or a Virtual Private Server (VPS) for better speed and performance.

If you’re a small business catering to a local audience, we love supporting Australian hosting companies. If you are established and wanting to seriously consider SEO as part of your digital marketing mix, then something like WP Engine is the way to go.

7. Enable HTTP Keep-Alive Headers

HTTP Keep-Alive headers allow multiple files to be transferred over a single connection, reducing the load on the server and speeding up the website. 

This is a relatively technical fix so it’s unlikely you can implement this one yourself. If you’re on WordPress popular caching plugins, such as WP Rocket will help you with this.

8. Optimise DNS Lookup Speed

The time it takes for a DNS lookup to resolve can significantly affect your website speed. Switching to a faster DNS provider can make a noticeable difference. This goes back to the quality of your hosting company.

While you might be tempted to save a few dollars by going for a cheap hosting company, you ultimately get what you paid for. Good hosting is essential for good website traffic.

9. Optimise Images and Media Files

Heavy media files can drag down your website speed. Use image optimisation tools and consider using formats like WebP to ensure that images load quickly without sacrificing quality.

The last thing you’ll want to be doing is to upload images directly from your phone to your website. These images are huge and will significantly slow down your site’s load speeds.

10. Implement Lazy Loading

Lazy loading delays the loading of images and other media files until they are about to be displayed on the user’s screen. This improves initial page load times and overall user experience.

This is typically included in popular caching plugins, but if you’re unable to use one of these there is a way to code this in. What you will need to do is dependant on how your website and server are set up.

Results of a Core Web Vitals Pagespeed Insights Website Results


In today’s competitive digital market, speed and user experience are not just aesthetic considerations; they’re factors that significantly impact SEO. Implementing these techniques can lead to better search engine rankings, lower bounce rates, and an overall improved user experience.

Don’t wait for Google to penalise your site for slow speed; take action now to ensure your website performs at its best.

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About the Author - 3am Ideas

3am Ideas is digital marketing agency focussing on providing data-driven services that get measurable and trackable results.

Based in Perth, Western Australia, we've been looking after small and medium-sized businesses since 2014, having worked with clients all over the country.

Our aim is to adopt the role of Virtual Marketing Officer for you, becoming part of your team, sharing in the successes, the blood, sweat and tears.

We're here for you. Let's get the job done!