If you think link building, writing content, and keywords are all you need to know about SEO, then wake up. While these factors are extremely important there is much more to search engine optimization.
Today, I want you to consider how you can tweak your website or blog using these off page SEO factors:
You are probably most familiar with this one. When Google launched its page speed service they announced the importance of sites that load quickly. According to an article in the New York Times, Google Engineers have figured out that if a website loads in more than 400 milliseconds (the blink of an eye) then searchers will leave. Use Yslow, Pingdom Tools, and CDN to keep your website loading quickly.
I think the message of mobile gets lost when we talk about responsive design. While responsive design is a very cool way to meet mobile needs, it is not the only one. All websites need to have a pared down version of their site that loads quickly on mobile devices. There are many ways to do this.
I bet you didn’t know that safety matters. Have you ever seen the warning in Google that says that a website is infected? That big red warning is scary. Getting hit with one of these will prevent people from finding you in search. Be aware of the vulnerabilities of your platform and safe guard against them.
5. Image optimization
You can save a lot of load time if you learn how to control the size of your images. WP Smush.it is the most common plugin that will reduce the size of your images when uploaded to a WordPress website. You can also run images through any of the various tools online.
6. CSS sprites
You already use sprites, but you just don’t know it. Video games use sprite sheets (one huge graphic that contains all the images for the game) and it works the same for a blog. You cannot sprite everything, but compressing some background images into a sprite sheet can make your website load much faster. Sprite me makes the process painless.
7. Web host
Yep, your web host matters for more than just customer service or price. Most bloggers, especially those starting out, use shared hosting. This keeps down costs, but this means you have neighbors on the network that share the same IP. If someone in your neighborhood gets hacked and flagged in search then your website could too.
8. Code bloat
9. Code optimization
Just like images, code can be optimized. This means stripping comments, spaces, and other unnecessary things that were added during the design phase. The more minimal your code the faster it will run.
That sweet add-on might make you happy, but it could be causing a massive slowdown. Plugins conflict amongst themselves and with your theme’s code. On WordPress, you can use the P3 plugin to analyze what is slowing down your blog. It is good to aim for 30 or less plugins.
11. Using CSS3
One thing I have learned is that images are becoming passe for text effects. There is so much that can be accomplished using CSS instead. It provides text that search engines can read and can make your website load faster.
This is why I believe bloggers need to learn some code. Code Academy just started lessons on Python, a language similar to the one used as the basis for WordPress. I have signed up for the course and have started to understand what all those crazy things in the WordPress Codex are. Plus, how can you go wrong learning a language named for Monty Python?
What off page SEO factor did you find most surprising?
Featured image courtesy of GollyGforce licensed via Creative Commons.
@dbvickery Yes, Plus if you use Wordpress it creates images for each thumbnail size on upload. Which kills your storage limits. Been studying this week about the image function and how to better control what it does in my theme.
Great stuff! Great list of things we bloggers need to be looking out for and tweaking.
Just recently I went to a very well known blogger's page and got the Google unsafe content warning, though I knew the blogger's content was ok. I see this could have a big affect on a site's performance.
@Jerry_D_Ross A blogger that I really enjoy went through heck because of being in a bad neighborhood on his server. I didn't think that item was true until I saw it happen. I am glad to be able to warn other bloggers about it. His traffic dropped significantly and it hurt his reputation.