October 28, 2010

Cayman SEO: Making Faster Websites

In my previous post I had discussed Page Speed and all its advantages, particularly as it relates to Search Engine Optimization (SEO).  This time, I would like to show you an example of what exactly we have done.  I would to introduce  www.grandviewcondos.com - the most visible website in the Accommodations Industry in the Cayman Islands and now, probably one of the fastest if not the fastest.  I still have to test the page speed of every single website but for the most part, I have tested around 80% of the websites in the accommodations industry, particularly the direct competition of Grandview Condos. 

The most visible website in the Seven Mile Beach Condos Industry 
Grandview Condos is no. 1 for the keyword, "condos seven mile beach" which has global monthly searches of 880 according to Adwords Keyword Tool. 

No. 1 for 'grand cayman condos seven mile beach' which has a total global monthly search of 390

It is also on the first page of all major and minor keywords as it relates to the Cayman Islands and the Accommodations industry. In fact, it is the only property on seven mile beach that shows up on the first page of 'cayman vacation' a major keyword that attracts 5,400 global monthly searches.  The rest of the organic results are booking/reservation websites such as Expedia, Travelocity, etc.
How were we able to make this website faster than most and in effect more visible than its competitors?  It was actually a very challenging and humbling experience.  We are still currently working on increasing its page speed and on some days, some of the guys have wanted to give up but truly, we are very proud of what we have accomplished so far. 
Here is a list of adjustments we have made to ensure the website's optimization: 
  • Source-Ordered Codes to ensure content (not scripts) is read first by the Search bots 
  • Combined external CSS
  • Leveraged browser caching
  • Minify CSS
  • Minify Javascript
  • Minimize DNS lookup
  • Minimize redirects
  • Enabled Compression
  • Minimize request size
  • Optimize Images
  • Remove query strings from static resources
  • Avoided bad requests
  • Combined images into CSS spirts
  • Optimize the order of styles and scripts
  • Parallelize downloads across hostnames
  • Put CSS in document head
  • Serve resources from a consistent URL
  • Serve scaled images
  • Specify a Vary: Accept-Encoding header
  • Specify a cache validator
  • Specify a character set early
Having done all of the above, here is a comparison between www.grandviewcondos.com and its competitors for the keyword, 'seven mile beach condos'

Organic Result for 'seven mile beach condos' on Google

Screenshot of Grandviewcondos.com Page Speed result 92/100
  1. Grandviewcondos.com Page Speed Score: 92/100 - Dynamic /Web 2.0 enabled
  2. Silversandscondos.com Page Speed Score: 86/100 - Static site
  3. Travelpo.com/condos/seven_mile_beach.htm/ Page Speed Score: 82/100 - Booking Site
  4. 10kvacationrentals.com/lodging/cayman-islands/seven-mile-beach/ Page Speed Score 78/100 - Booking Site
  5. Aquabayclub.com/en/index.html Page Speed Score: 60/100 - Dynamic /Web 2.0 enabled 
  6. Tripadvisor.com (lengthy link) Page Speed Score: 77/100 - Booking Site
  7. Cicondos.com Page Speed Score: 66/100 - Dynamic /Web 2.0 enabled
  8. Vacationhomes.com/2097 Page Speed Score: 72/100 - Booking Site
  9. Vrbo.com/49383 Page Speed Score: 75/100 - Booking Site
  10. Cayman.com.ky/condo-rentals-seven-mile-beach.html Page Speed Score: 62/100 - Booking Site
It is important to note that static websites will get a high score on page speed but will probably be ignore by Users simply because the website will feel 'old' and users will feel that it is representative of the rental property. No one wants to rent a tired looking property in the same way that no one will want to use a tired looking website.  It is important to ensure that the website is User friendly with all the intricacies of Web 2.0 (social media) to ensure a high usability rate. 
In closing, please note that Page Speed is a very important aspect of Optimization and that is why we have given it an emphasis in our SEO contracts with our clients.   It is important because Users have become less and less patient with waiting for websites to load.  If a website is clicked off before it loads and a high percentage of users are doing it, the search engines will notice and probably penalize the website by pushing it down the organic searches, and that is something that you never want to happen to your business.

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