Establishing an attractive and informative medical website is just the first step in creating a reputable presence on the internet. To truly attract attention and gain visitors in droves, you must utilize key tactics to push your website ranking to the top of the most popular search engines, such as Google. In prior years, achieving a solid high-ranking only required keyword optimization and ample backlinks. Modern algorithm updates complicated matters by adding even more criteria to the ranking process.
As a result, the assessment of page load times now weighs heavily on rank assignment. In short, the page that can provide the user with a solution to their problem or answer to their question in the fastest time ranks ahead of the competition. Speedy web pages tend to give users a quality browsing experience, especially when compared to their lag-ridden equivalents.
The search engine does not just count the seconds until the page loads, however. A multitude of ranking factors actually go into assessing the overall speed of the site in question. The search engine gathers the speed evaluations and plugs them into the mathematical algorithm to produce your page ranking for each keyword search completed by the user. Therefore, it is definitely worth the time to understand these speed calculations and optimize your medical website to follow suit.
Speed Ranking Factors
Although the exact speed algorithm used by search engines remains a mystery, the following ranking factors play a role in the calculations.
First Byte Measurement
The amount of time it takes for the page to return a response to a URL request provides the first-byte measurement. The evaluation looks at your actual server speed as the request bounces from your computer to your website’s server and back again. In addition, network latency, overall server load, and back-end site response times heavily influence the speed measurement for this category.
By measuring the speed of these processes, the search engine can adequately determine the user’s satisfaction with that result. As the page quickly begins to load, users may equate the rapid response times with quality results. To maximize this result and achieve high speed scores, you may want to spread your medical website content across multiple proxy servers and data centers by using a content delivery network.
Overall Page Size
The total size of the page directly influences the speed at which the site renders all images, information, ads and links. Content rich pages that load quickly will rank higher than smaller pages with similar load times. As the complexity of the site increases, the rank continues to rise as long as the page loads at a rapid rate.
When a page full of quality content loads in a reasonable amount of time, users are more likely to feel satisfied with their search results. With so much content available on a single page, users have to perform fewer searches and click through links less often to fully satisfy their query. The content must remain highly organized and helpful to achieve a high ranking in the other areas weighed by the algorithm, however.
Users only report a satisfactory search experience when their targeted website fully renders during the visit. Since images tend to load last on many sites, the total number of image elements, including ads and widgets, plays a role in the speed ranking. The size of the images also contributes to the load times and may even slow the page to a crawl in extreme cases. Pages overloaded with large images and ads may render slowly, causing the user to abort the visit before fulfilling their query.
A balance of high quality images and helpful ads gives users value during their visit without negatively impacting load times. The images should quickly load without looking choppy or causing the site to freeze temporarily. Reducing image quality or size can improve load times, but be careful about reducing the perceived quality of your medical website by altering this element too much.
Remain wary of using embedded videos unless you can host the content on your own server. Otherwise, the speed of your site will depend on the load and response times of the original video hosting server, which can have a negative impact on your rank results.
Plugins, Apps and Code
Although plug ins and code additions improve your medical site’s functionality, these additions can also negatively impact the page load times. The use of Flash based applications or poorly optimized plugins can slow page load times or even cause the site to crash during heavy traffic periods. These elements must also interact with your selected site theme to prevent errors that severely slow your page response times.
Furthermore, you must streamline your code to create an efficient, minimalist list of instructions for the software to execute. To keep your load times fast and dynamic, check and double check changes to ensure code updates do not unnecessarily complicate the page load process in any way. You can check your site speed rating and efficiency using online tools that test your full render times and suggest areas of improvement.
Achieving A Solid Medical Website Ranking
Upon gathering the above information with web crawlers, the speed stats go into the algorithms that assess each of your page’s overall ranking for the query in question. Websites must conform to these precise speed standards to rise to the top of the rankings for all pertinent keyword searches. Otherwise, your medical website could land far below competing pages or even end up barred from the databases.
Continue to review and optimize every aspect of your page load times as a part of your marketing strategy to maintain a solid online presence through the years. Since search engine ranking rules change hundreds of times a year, remember to remain flexible and willing to alter your site to meet or exceed expectations at every turn. In the end, when you follow the given guidelines and employ good web design techniques, your efforts will produce lasting results.