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Google Page Speed Upgrades - Optimizing Website Downloads with a Simple Plugin

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MinneBar 5 (22 May 2010)
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  • Update - 5/20/2010 - I have felt uncomfortable about claiming a "direct" increase in search rankings by optimizing speed of your site. Rumors on the web suggest a 1% increase in google search rankings or perhaps a little more (whatever it is, it is assumed to be a "growing" percentage). Nonetheless, speed and usability will ultimately affect visitor interest and would allow you to compete better with the big boys. But would love to hear your perspectives! (Other sites - ESPN: 78/100, Yahoo: 88/100, Microsoft: 81/100, Google: 95/100, Bing: 96/100, Craigslist: 96/100)

I will show a few charts of my page loads since updating my site.

Original description below:

I will talk about our efforts at the Minneapolis Biomass Exchange to optimize our website for very fast delivery to improve our search rankings.

This entire conversation will revolve around our use of the Google Page Speed plugin for Firebug in Firefox. We raised our score from 74/100 to 97/100 (and counting) and you can too. I will discuss:

  1. Content Delivery Networks (CDNs): CDNs allow you to load images/css/javascript from servers around the country to parallelize downloads. This helps your page speed score, but the question still remains...does google raise you up in the search rankings when content is coming from multiple servers? Hope to have an answer by Minnebar....
  2. Combining JS/CSS into one file: Reduce your js and css http requests. How do you do it? (Will discuss 2 ruby/rails plugins).
  3. Minifying JS/CSS to transfer smaller file size...yui compressor, google code controller. Among other things, this means taking out all the whitespace, including (usually) newlines.
  4. Gzipping content on the server...how much does this help your download?
  5. Optimizing images for dummies...just make the image and use google page speed! And don't forget to specify image dimensions!
  6. CSS Selectors: Making CSS more efficient.
  7. Using google dashboard to monitor page speed from googlebots perspective.
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