There are numerous ways that Google’s Hummingbird algorithm examines and ranks websites in its search results, but one of the most important factors used in this process is the time it takes to load a website when “crawling” it. Google’s algorithm has been trained by the company’s search engineers to view faster websites as being more authoritative, less sketchy in terms of their overall goals, and more worth ranking at or near the top of keyword-targeted search results. For this reason, speedy page loads are essential as part of a comprehensive SEO approach. WordPress offers several key plugins to achieve this goal, and four of the best such plugins are listed below.
One of the best ways to speed up a WordPress site is to cache key parts of the site’s design. The reason for this is simple: Many elements of the website’s design query the database each time the page is loaded, which can slow things down on websites with more content or a larger database behind the scenes.
W3 Cache seeks to overcome this technical hurdle by caching parts of a website’s template that query the database often, but hardly ever change. By minimizing on-load database queries, W3 Cache is able to shave seconds off the page’s load time and enhance its performance in the eyes of search algorithms everywhere.
jQuery Image Lazy Load
Not all website optimization plugins have to be wide-reaching and comprehensive. In some cases, a basic plugin that performs one simple type of optimization can make all the difference. That’s where jQuery Image Lazy Load comes in. This unique plugin is designed to improve page loading times by changing the way that images load when the page is first downloaded in a web browser.
Instead of loading all images at once, which can cost precious seconds in the eyes of Google’s search algorithm, jQuery Image Lazy Load uses a simply jQuery script to load those images only when they’re needed. Images remain unloaded if they are “below the fold,” but will quickly load as the user scrolls down the page. In the eyes of Google’s algorithm, this means a fast, high-ranking website is within reach.
Another comprehensive approach to WordPress speed, WP Optimize serves as both a database optimizer and a cruft remover. The plugin can automatically remove spam comments, trash posts, delete unnecessary revision logs, and much more. This has the effect of streamlining the database, making content easier to access and pages faster to load. Each piece of plugin functionality can be controlled at a granular level upon activation, thanks to the plugin’s included settings page within the WordPress dashboard.
One of the biggest bottlenecks when loading a WordPress website is the database that lurks just behind the scenes. This is because the database contains a staggering amount of information, from the WordPress installation’s settings to the page’s content, sidebar modules, and much more. Without careful and constant optimization, the database can slow to a crawl. Each database query can add fractions of a second to the page’s load time, bogging down its ranking and creating systemic problems for the site. WP-DB Manager, once installed, takes care of this by streamlining database content and minimizing queries as needed.
Four Excellent Ways to Speed Up a WordPress Website
WordPress websites are some of the most impressive on the Internet, backed by years of CMS development, exciting templates, and the largest selection of plugins available for any such content management system. Amid all these features and add-ons, however, is a need to optimize the website so that it performs well according to today’s SEO best practices. These four plugins provide speed, optimization, and granular control of all enhancements, making them a must-have for any serious site administrator pursuing a better Google ranking.