The author’s views are entirely his or hers (except for the unlikely event of hypnosis) and may not always reflect Moza’s views.
Last year, I tweeted a series of technical SEO topics for local SEO and got a lot of positive feedback.
One of these elements of technical SEO that local SEOs may find extremely intimidating and unfamiliar is speed optimization.
There are some key scenarios where local SEOs should seriously consider speed optimization, even for a small local client. After all, these customers are still affected by the problems associated with a slower website – such as higher single-page traffic rates, lower conversions, and, worst of all, a poor user experience.
There are also many instances where speed optimization is practically the next step in your SEO strategy. If your customer has great content, great links, but low engagement or ranking, speed issues may be to blame.
This case study speaks to the client just like that. The only service my team has RicketyRoo at the time of the case study there was a speed optimization and we saw some impressive results. In this post, I will share our experience and hopefully this will inspire you to tackle some of the speed issues you have been eagerly addressing.
The client is a multi-site cleaning franchise with more than 40 locations across the United States. The website consists of about 580 pages, with a landing page for each location.
Our client’s goal is pretty simple: take a bigger piece of the pie from major home cleaning franchises across the country. Our technical audit showed that the site was very slow, so we started with the speed of the website.
1. Set up the staging environment with WPEngine
Whether you’re using tools and plug-ins or opting to manually update your site for speed, you need to create a staging (or experiment) environment. Manually modifying the code used to create a website (including through a plug-in) can damage the website. The staging environment is a cloned version of the production site that can be repaired without the risk of damaging anything in the workplace. Once you have the staging site set up, you can basically update and change all the items you want and test it without fear of losing traffic or leads.
Our philosophy of speed is that try and check. Checking that the staging site is still working after a change, and then getting an updated rating using the speed tool you choose, is the only way to be sure of the changes you’re making.
2. Run the tool as is WebPageTest
At this stage, you diagnose problems such as script files that return 404 errors, unused CSS files that cause longer loading times, and render blocking resources. Find these issues and update them. Web.dev is a great source for finding solutions:
1. Overview Basic web data assessments to determine where the problems are.
2. Find out what takes the longest from the waterfall
3. Overview means that block rendering and update (delay is probably the best call here)
3. Check if anything is broken
That’s why we use a staging environment – just in case any of these changes we’ve made spoil anything. Take a look at the live performance site and compare the visuals and functionality with the production version of the site. If everything works as expected, then you are doing great.
4. View large images via WebPageTest
Problems with maximum color content are often caused by oversized images. There’s a lot of them image optimization instructions out there. If you use WordPress, you can also use a plugin like Imagify:
Download all large images, resize and reduce space
Reload images of smaller sizes
Check the image resolution at the staging location
5. Rinse and repeat for other page suggestions
Everything we have done so far will be repeated for each type of template used on the site. Most websites will have separate suggestions for location pages, services, categories, blogs, products, contact pages, and so on. Each of these types of pages needs to be reviewed with a tool like WebPageTest.
6. Install WP Rocket
If your site is on WordPress, you can use WP Rocket to further optimize your site for speed. WP Rocket can sometimes have problems with other plug-ins or themes used on WordPress sites, so it’s important to try it out at the staging site first.
7. Inspect the plug-ins
While we are talking about plugins, you should also review your current plugins and deactivate and remove those that are not in use.
8. Check if anything is broken
We’ve made a decent amount of changes at this point. We should revisit the live version of the staging site and compare it to the production site.
9. Restart the Webpagetest
Let’s see how we did it! If you are happy with your results, your work is almost done.
10. Push the changes live
Any changes you have made must now be pushed to the production site.
11. Describe the changes in GA
Do not forget mark these changes so you can check back and draw your own conclusions from your results.
Our speed optimization began in July 2020. Shortly thereafter, we noticed an improvement in non-branded keyword rankings, which were already ranked in the top 20. The customer recorded a 32% increase in the number of new users, a 47% increase in phone calls and a 63% increase in requests for free offers between 2021 and 2020. In 2021, revenue increased by 55 percent. in 2019 and more than 60% compared to 2020.
This is associated with increased website traffic and qualified leads. Our client measures qualified leads as scheduled meetings, which grew by 49% PoP.
We also reviewed CRux data for our client compared to closely ranked competitors. The winner for each UX / speed element is highlighted in yellow. As you can see, the results of our customers are generally higher than competitors who do not rank so well:
Technical SEO can be performed even if you do not consider yourself a technical expert. If you have a backup, it’s easy to confidently test the changes. Never overlook the importance of SEO tactics because you are unfamiliar. Our customer noticed rankings and improvements and a 55% increase in revenue just because of Core Web Vital optimization. Now that you have a staging site, you are free to tackle other technical issues that you may have discovered but find uncomfortable approaching.