How Website Optimization Can Save You From The Google Penguin Update?

Are you doing any website optimization? If you have not, you better do as the next Google Penguin Update is on it's way.

Don't freak out as this article will explain in detail how you can prepare for the next Google Update (and probably rank better with the correct search engine optimization techniques).

As we all know, the latest Google Penguin update was rolled out recently (22nd May 2013 to be exact). Many websites were affected from the update including some of mine.

I was lucky that I managed to run several test websites prior to the Google update and let me share with you how website optimization can save your website from all the negative things Google Penguin can throw at you.

Before that, here are my Google Analytics results with two different websites:

Website A

Website optimization is very important in terms of search engine optimization

Without quality content, websites are very prone to receive penalties from Google

Website B

Optimizing website in terms of content and keywords are very important to prepare for Google update

Quality content, search engine optimization and keywords all play a huge factor in terms of increasing website traffic

Google Penguin Update happened on 22nd May 2013 and I marked it right on both the charts. Website A was hit badly with an average of 25% traffic reduction right after the Google update. On the other hand, website B (with good SEO and content optimization techniques) was not only able to escape the traffic reduction but slowly but surely, increasing in traffic on a daily basis.

Now, what did I learn from the latest Google Penguin Update?

  1. Google doesn't care on cheap or low quality backlinks anymore.
  2. Google algorithm is 'adapting' to human behavior; readers love to read quality articles and thus, good posts will benefit from this update.
  3. Search engine optimization (especially website optimization) techniques are very important to increase website traffic.
  4. It doesn't matter on the number of posts the website has or the domain age. It is all about quality.
  5. Content is still king and SEO had just became more important.

p/s: Website A is having a domain age of 3 years while website B is just 6 months old

How to perform website optimization for your websites?

I am pretty sure I got your attention with the result images above (well, please lie to me if they didn't attract you that much). Now, take a 5 minute break and jot down what you have in your mind when it comes to website optimization. Yes, I will wait for you right here.

Now, let's say you have five ideas which you believe are the best for website optimization. Let's compare with mine, shall we?

What are SEO best practices to boost website ranking?

What are the tooltips when it comes to optimizing websites?

Website optimization technique #1 - Reduce your website loading time

Serious mate. If you want Google to love your website, then start boosting your website loading speed. We all hate slow loading websites right? For me, if the website takes more than 5 seconds to load, I am going to close it. Sorry!

Still not convinced? See what major search engines say about website loading speed below:

Website optimization technique #2 - Keywords are as important as content

Search engines such as Google loves to index blogs and websites which are loaded with good quality articles. And yes, you got it right! One of the basics of writing good quality articles is by using the right keywords.

There are many SEO tools bloggers and webmasters can use when it comes to choosing the right keywords. All it would probably take is a few hours of your precious time and Google (and other search engines) will really appreciate your hard work by giving you more 'ranking points' for your websites.

For starters, Google Keyword Tool is one of the best free SEO tools available for bloggers. If you are running a SEO agency or would want to perform SEO for a small scale business, I would highly recommend you to try this premium SEO tool for free!

Website optimization technique #3 - Forget about short posts

I remember writing a SEO guide on HubPages, stating that each article we published should be at least 300 words long in order to get ranked well on search engines. It was true at that time though but for now, the tide had changed.

This is one of the 'error-free' website optimization techniques I always use. When you are writing an article, try to keep it above 700 words. I know! It used to be like 300 to 500 words but with the latest Google update, I believe it is time we need to increase the mark.

Depending on topics you are writing, sometime it is very challenging to write quality articles with the said word count but at least, try your best to achieve it. Always remember that a little hard work goes a long way.

Website optimization technique #4 - Update your (old) posts regularly

Google loves updated stuffs and so do I. Do you have any articles that had been collecting dusts and have not been updated, say 6 months or more? You can (and should) easily optimize your website and your articles simply by updating the content.

Now, you don't need to do a full rewrite. Instead, try to perform small updates such as adding a few lines of new information or even a new image.

The sky is your limit and creativity is always welcome!

Do this before you leave... 

I hope you enjoyed this article as much as I do. Have you sign up for the free SEO newsletter? Moving forward, do you want to add any additional information on website optimization techniques? Feel free to comment below 🙂

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Three Love Hate Factors Which Affect Website Load Time

As a blogger and webmaster, I am obsessed with it comes to speed up website load time. In fact, who doesn't right? Do you know that websites that has good loading speed score well on search engine page results? Maybe I just took it to another level. Anyway, over the past few days, I managed to speed up my website with these three main components:

Before you proceed reading the rest, ask yourself these questions:

  1. Do you know what it takes to build a website that loads fast?
  2. What is the importance of a fast loading site?
  3. Are you doing enough in terms of optimizing your lovely website?

Not too techie to do website optimization? This article is going to blow your mind away. So, bookmark this page or share with your friends as I am sure you would need this somewhere down your blogging career.

As for the record, I am not interested to hire a SEO or a website developer for the matter. Therefore, Google was my closest ally that I could get without paying a fee. After some searching, I decided to use only two tools which are ySlow and GTmetrix to measure the speed of my website.

Note: ySlow is integrated in GTmetrix and therefore, you may use GTmetrix only.

Website load time is important in terms of SEO and website ranking

What are the three things that affect website loading speed? 

What did I do to reduce my website load time?

Before solving any problem, you need to know where the problem lies. According to GTmetrix, I am having serious load issues on several parts which are:

Just a side note: If you are very interested to know more about CSS, I would recommend you this: HTML and CSS - Design and Build Websites.

Honestly, having this four issues was already a big headache and I was affected with slow loading speed and super low score for ySlow.

Since search engines do not like slow websites, I was determined to spend the whole day even days to get this resolved, without the help of any paid services.

Yes, I was just that determined!

Something I got to add to all WordPress users

I am using WordPress and I always do. There are probably hundreds of WordPress themes out there and choosing the right one is more than just important.

The right WordPress themes are usually:

It doesn't matter if you are running a corporate, e-Commerce or a simply website...you need a good WordPress theme and I can only recommend you two which are the best premium WordPress theme I ever seen; Genesis Framework and child themes by StudioPress and Thesis themes by DIYthemes.

I am using Genesis Framework and it really help me to reduce my website load time. This is my website load speed after I did several website optimization and I do not use any Content Network Delivery.

Website loading speed plays a huge role in terms of website ranking

Pingdom Tool is a great tool to measure website loading speed 

Searching for free help as much as possible

I didn't have what it takes to do it fast and I wasn't sure if I can do it correctly. My first spot was getting help from my hosting provider. Of course, it wasn't that much of a help really with the reply that I had a huge external scripts which was well over 50k bytes and many external script files.

Even though that wasn't much of a help, I roughly knew something was wrong in the script. Just an assumption of course!

With the data provided by GTmetrix, I decided that I could Google and solve the problem (one by one).

Solving Avoid CSS @ import

Honestly, I had no idea what this was. I had a look at style.css and tried to find what was wrong. I saw the term @ import and I read what it was. It was actually importing fonts for every request to load my page. Head over to my Homepage and check the different fronts available on your screen. Yup, that's it!

Just follow the below steps to solve the @ import issue.

Original:

@ import url("style.css")

Replace to:

<link rel="style.css" href="style.css" type="text/css">

See the style.css above? Change them according to the original URL for importing.

Sounds very easy right?

Minify CSS files to control your website load time

I Google-d around and found out about minifying CSS files. I was using W3 Total Cache and I thought it had done what it was suppose to be. However, there are some files which cache plugins are not able to minify.

I read a lot about minify and in short, minify means combining and merging codes to be small in side. The lesser and shorter the code is, the faster your website will load. Enough said.

I headed over to my Style.css (Appearance > Editor > Style.css). This is a risky procedure and thus, you could access style.css through your cPanel which is safer. In case of any mistake done, you could easily revert the changes.

There are many online minify tools that you can use for this matter. You can use anyone which you can find on Google or use this: CSS Drive

Copy down your the whole script or any part of the style.css that you want to minify. Then, paste the code in the box and press compress. New codes will be available once the screen refresh and paste it on your style.css (you should override the old setting). Refresh your website and see if it loads up correctly.

Reduce website load time by compressing external CSS files

If you had understand the concept behind the above action, you are going to understand this completely. What you did was minify just one CSS file. Now, choose as many related css files and then combine all into one.

Tip: You may skip this as not all css files can be merged together

How to enable Gzip compression on WordPress?

Enabling Gzip compression will help to speed up the website loading time and reducing the bandwidth required to load your site. To do so, head over to your .htaccess through your cPanel and paste the below code into the script.

<ifModule mod_gzip.c>
mod_gzip_on Yes
mod_gzip_dechunk Yes
mod_gzip_item_include file .(html?|txt|css|js|php|pl)$
mod_gzip_item_include handler ^cgi-script$
mod_gzip_item_include mime ^text/.*
mod_gzip_item_include mime ^application/x-javascript.*
mod_gzip_item_exclude mime ^image/.*
mod_gzip_item_exclude rspheader ^Content-Encoding:.*gzip.*
</ifModule>

Save the file and reboot. You should notice a faster loading time now for your website.

Was that I did to speed up my website loading time?

Nope, I did more than that. I even have W3 Total Cache plugin and Cloudflare working together to boost my website speed. Not only that, I even have a subdomain which perform as a cookie-free domain to serve static content to my main site.

If you want to follow my steps, you can click on the links above and they will bring you to complete, step by step guides in speeding up your website.

To ensure that you had done everything correctly, refer back to GTmetrix and check on the scorecard. You should probably see a huge improvement compared to the previous one.

My website scored a pretty nice score at the end of this whole process with loading speed of slightly below 2 seconds and scoring A's for both Google Page Speed and ySlow.

Website loading speed plays a huge role in SEO and search engine ranking.

Do you want to speed up your website effectively? 

This whole process could take your about an hour to three max to finish it completely. Share with me your scorecard and if you have any other tips, do tell us as well using the form below.

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