You're missing the boat if you aren't running every single site your own or build through Google's PageSpeed Insights tool. Google has made it clear, from as early as 2010, that page load speed is included in the factors with which its search algorithm uses to rank search results.
What this means for you is that not only does your site have to be optimized for relevance, but it also needs to be optimized for speed. And now with the majority share of internet traffic coming from mobile devices, a fast-loading site is also key to your user experience.
Site optimization can been a difficult job, depending on the platform and server your site is built on. Often a developer is required to help diagnose and fix code-based performance issues.
The good news is that there are a few quick and easy tricks you can use to help improve your score in PageSpeed Insights.
You can reduce the overall file size, and thus download speed, of your site by configuring your server to compress the files it serves before sending them to the browser.
This feature is enabled in most Linux/Apache/MySQL/PHP (LAMP) hosting environments, so it's as simple as dropping a few lines in your .htaccess file at the root of your website directory.
The code we use looks like this, and it can just be added at the bottom of your existing .htaccess file.
In some cases this may not work as planned, and you'll see a 500 error when trying to access your site. Removing the code will bring the site back online. You can contact your host for help if it doesn't work on the first try.
After enabling GZIP compression, running your site through Google PageSpeed Insights should show that your site assets are now compressed (and saving valuable time and bandwidth during the page load).
You'll see one of the items PageSpeed checks is whether you are leveraging browser caching. Google's definition of this is pretty strict, requiring your site assets to be cached for a minimum of one week in order to pass this test.
Again, this is a simple snippet that can be copied and pasted into your site's .htaccess file.
Header set Cache-Control "max-age=604800, public, must-revalidate" Header unset Last-Modified
These two tips are quick wins to help you get started on your site speed optimization journey.
Though there aren't simple drop-in solutions to these issues, modern content management systems, such as Craft CMS and ExpressionEngine, have available tools that will help you take the next steps, so if your site is running one of these systems, or something similar, you may be in luck.