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Boost Rankings by Optimizing Your Website Speed | SEMNE

A fast website makes users feel empowered; a slow website is simply agonizing. In a time-poor society, users and consumers want  to use fast, responsive sites. As website owners team up with developers to prioritize strategy, speed is consistently the most important factor. At a recent Search Engine Marketing New England event, Jonathan Hochman made the case for website speed optimization and how you can boost it for your site.

What every website owner should know about speed

  • If your site is penalized 100% of the time you will be notified in Google Webmaster tools.
  • Amazon reports that .1 of a second in load speed causes 1% loss in sales.
  • Browsers only run between 2 and 5 simultaneous requests (for images and data etc.)

Be selective when choosing hosting

  • It’s OK to complain if your site isn’t loading fast enough! The worst possible hosting is your own IT department.
  • Users recommend BostonComputing and TigerTech because they are good for WordPress and offer quality support.
  • Mediatemple and RackSpace also good hosting choices, but they are a bit more expensive.
  • Double your WordPress speed with W3 Total cache plugin. This tool allows you to turn on page caching and minification, which can double the page speed
  • Don’t self-host video, embed from Wistia for better quality and analytics. It’s not free, but can learn more and is compatible.

What affects website speed?

  • The number of lines of code (although this matters less than other factors)
  • Ad scripts being served from Google Adsense servers
  • Page size
  • Flash video player from YouTube
  • Images from Blogger Photos and other sites

 What is a CSS Sprite?

  • An image sprite is a collection of images put into a single image. A web page with many images can take a long time to load and generates multiple server requests. Using image sprites will reduce the number of server requests and save bandwidth
  • Those looking to hire a developer should hire those who know CSS Sprites. Experts say developers should absolutely know sprites – should be standard nowadays.

Quick fixes help and code tactics count

High-impact, easy-to-use tools

  • Use content delivery network Cloudflare (free) to speed up your website’s load time! Users says comment spam and site scraping will be reduced.
  • Linux servers are faster than Windows. There may be a correlation to self-hosting and Windows
  • Measure website speed with Pingdom tools (you want 1.5 seconds or less). Users say it has great data speed when tested correctly.
  • Yoast works especially well with WordPress. This tools helps users optimize speed with the help of a plugin developer.

Special thanks to insight from SEMNE friends @seangw and @fairminder!

Personas before keywords in search marketing

Personas ahead of keywords and links … oh my

Learn about your audience to generate ROI was the topic of December’s Search Engine Marketing New England event, featuring Michael King, SEO Manager at Publicis Modem.

This SEO pro shares his keen knowledge on the use of searcher personas to connect and transfer user experience to conversion and return on investment.  Michael’s presentation shows how to acquire demographic data on your target audience through researching keywords, extracting data, and other methods of discovery.

Use Michael’s knowledge and tools to get real predictable ROI for search engine marketing.

Understand people

  • Think about the needs people are trying to fulfill when they search. Does your content fulfill that need?
  • Use social listening to determine personas of your audience, then define information architecture with keywords
  • Social listening does not taint the opinions of your viewers because they don’t know you’re in the room listening
  • SEOs absolutely need to be involved with the user experience; its what’s going to get things to convert
  • Who the people are comes before keyword research


  • Use these to reach out to your intended audience
  • Define keyword opportunities based upon the personas of your audience and inform keyword research
  • Figure out which keywords are worth more to you based on persona and then spend more time on those


  • Talk and engage with people like REAL people when link building
  • Personas are the key to scalable link-building
  • Social search becoming more influential so build your networks: rel-me and rel-author
  • Start the link-building relationship on Twitter before you move to email
  • Need an authoritative persona on Twitter before you reach out to potential linkers. Discover who they are via knowem
  • Get involved in conversations, not just spamming: Quickly invite following, go to direct messaging, and then talk links
  • Use followerwonk for link-building opportunities

Tools to measure demographics


  • Target audience should be viewed in context, who are their influencers?
  • Reach out to influencers via Twitter

Good content

  • Use Chrome scraper to grab content into Google Docs
  • Offer people value, show them content they might not have known about, post awesome articles
  • Do promotions that encourage your link prospects to tweet and blog to win prizes
  • Use knowledge of who is on your site (visitors logged into Facebook) to give responsive designs based upon personas
  • Your site needs to address what your target really wants

Readers: What percentage of SEOs consider keywords before personas?