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Speed up your WordPress site and improve SEO by letting Google host jQuery for you

Faster page load time helps improve SEO and User Experience

Google long ago made clear that they now take the time your website takes to load into consideration as part of their ranking algorithm.  In other words, the faster your site loads, the better your site will rank, thus the more you improve SEO.  Users also like fast loading pages – if your site is taking too long to load, you might find a lot of users just hitting the back button and trying a different link.  So it’s clear that we want our WordPress sites to be as fast as possible.

STEP 1: Use a caching plugin like WP Super Cache or W3 Total Cache

I’ll go into more detail on this in a separate article, but the first thing you should do is ensure you are using a good caching plugin like WP Super Cache or W3 Total Cache.  WP Super Cache is easier to set up for beginners, whereas W3 Total Cache offers a lot more customizability.  Both improve overall site performance, in large part by generating static html files from your dynamic WordPress blog (warning: multiple caching plugins should not be used simultaneously – pick one).  I use W3 Total Cache, which boasts:

At least 10x improvement in overall site performance (Grade A in YSlow or significant Google Page Speed improvements) when fully configured

 

STEP 2: WP Plugin Use Google Libraries allows you to load some commonly used Javascript libraries from Google webservers

As explained in the article 3 reasons why you should let Google host jQuery for you, using Google’s free CDN to host jquery for you provides a number of benefits:

  1. Decreased Latency: “When a user’s browser resolves the URL for these files, their download will automatically target the closest available server in the network.”
  2. Increased parallelism: Web browsers limit the number of connections that are made to a web server in an effort to prevent the web server from overloading.  Letting Google host your jQuery files results in one less request to your server, allowing more of your local content to downloaded in parallel.
  3. Better Caching: the greatest benefit of using the Google AJAX Libraries CDN is that your users may not need to download jQuery at all because chances are they will have already visited one of the tens of thousands of websites that is also letting Google host jQuery for them, and if so will already have jQuery saved in their browser cache.

As Dave Ward says, “The opportunity to let the pros handle part of your site’s JavaScript footprint free of charge is too good to pass up”.  I couldn’t agree more.  He provides some great suggestions on how anyone can go about implementing this great resource, but for WordPress users it’s easy.  Install and activate the WP plugin Use Google Libraries.

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