Developers Rely On Search Engines

Increasingly, developers are relying on search engines to find their technical content. As you can imagine, at ContentLab, we frequently work with clients to help raise their profiles in Google searches. Usually, we focus on developing concepts for actionable, high-quality technical content to help provide a leg up in attracting organic search traffic. But sometimes when reviewing the content offerings of clients, we find that there are opportunities for some easy, impactful gains — simply by adapting and optimizing their websites.

Tips to Improve Your Content’s SERP Performance

Here are a few things we often suggest our clients explore to optimize their websites to achieve better performance in search results:

  • Stamp out vulnerabilities. Chances are your site loads a number of third-party libraries. It’s important to keep those libraries up-to-date so you aren’t loading old or compromised versions. Beyond the potential security risks, Google will penalize sites that load libraries with known vulnerabilities.
  • Speed over glam. It’s no secret that Google rewards responsive, quick-loading websites. Page size and loading times are both weighed heavily in Google’s SERP rankings, and lately, that focus has expanded to mobile site performance as well. Design appropriately.
  • Load lazy. Want a quick lift? Implement lazy loading for images below the fold to speed up your website — your Google rankings can improve noticeably. Frameworks like jQuery Lazy make this easy to do, and the gains can be especially big if you are displaying a lot of animated GIFs.
  • Get thee to HTML5. Speaking of animated GIFs, you should consider converting all those bottleneck-prone images to HTML5 video format — the resulting files will be much smaller and faster-loading. Just be aware that converting GIFs to HTML5 can be difficult. But if you’ve used a content management system to build your site, you may be able to do the conversion automatically.
  • Smarter asset loading. Loading assets like stylesheets and fonts can delay the appearance of your website, as the browser often loads them in order before it renders your site. The problem is, you can’t defer loading these assets, because the resulting user experience will be a mess. That said, you can eke out some gains by stripping unused glyphs and character sets out of your web font files. You can also choose to preload key assets like fonts, select images, and stylesheets. These not only move to the front of the execution chain when preloaded — they also get cached so subsequent page loads are that much faster. You can learn more about preloading at: https://web.dev/preload-critical-assets/.

For the Win

There’s no guarantee these steps will yield higher search rankings for your site. But they’re relatively easy targets that can improve your chances. And ultimately, streamlined site performance will help maximize the impact of a sustained content program.