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One Way to Impress Google With Your Page Speed


Matt Cutts, head of search spam at Google, announced way back in 2010 that site speed would be taken in to consideration when ranking sites in Google search results.

However, there has been much debate and conversation about how much influence site speed actually has on rankings, and the truth is no one really knows (other than the bods at Google).

Users of your website, and particularly those on a mobile device, are much more likely to stay round and have a more pleasant experience if your site is quick loading. So the theory is; if you’re optimising for speed and have quality content, your site is generally more likely to be a good egg, and so ranks higher.

One of the ways we recommend speeding up your site for the benefit of SEO is by using Gzip Compression.

What is gzip compression?

Without compression, when you access a website you’ll be sent to an uncompressed site as normal. With compression, the files are served in a reduced size (similar to how you might send zip files via email) this is then read and displayed quicker in your browser.

Here’s a graphic which compares the two processes:

Before adding gzip compression:


After implementing gzip compression:


In this example, compression has reduced the file size from 100KB to just 10KB. The page size is 90% smaller and so in theory should load 90% faster, although this isn’t always exact.

The same web page content is being loaded in both versions; compression doesn’t in any way impact on the appearance of the pages.

How can I implement compression?

If you open up an FTP client such as FileZilla, then enter your website’s FTP details, then navigate to the public_html directory, you should see a file called ‘.htaccess’. Simply add the following code underneath the existing code in this file, you’ll enable gzip compression on your website.

<ifmodule mod_deflate.c>
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE text/plain
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE text/html
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE text/xml
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE text/css
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/xml
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/xhtml+xml
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/rss+xml
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/javascript
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/x-javascript

Once you’ve added the code, enter your website URL into a website such as this which will check that is is enabled and working as expected. You’ll also see what effect this has had on the file size. In our case, it reduced the file size of our website by 66.5%.

Spiral Media - Website compression results


Our Lead Developer, Rupert, focuses heavily on making the websites he creates as fast as possible, and so we implement gzip compression as standard for all new client websites. We can also implement this on your existing site, if you need a hand just give us a call.