Where to Test Your Page Load Speed?

Common consideration can and should be given to your page load speed in today’s online environment. I would urge this on site owners for two main reasons:

  • Broadband: Many Internet users have access to at least to minimal broadband speeds and with this we don’t wait for pages to load.
  • Google: Google has announced that page load speed is a ranking factor in the search algorithm. So tuning up your site could help give you a nudge over your competition.

OK. I get it. So where can I test my page load speed?

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Use .htaccess to redirect non www to www

htaccess redirectIt’s is considered good practice, for both SEO and users, to have your website resolve to one URL. Technically speaking www.domain.com is a subdomain of domain.com. Users often type www. prior to the domain in the address bar. So to keep that formality consistent with your users you can redirect the traffic on domain.com to www.domain.com.

.htaccess

If your website is hosted on an apache server, this redirect from non www to www is a simple implementation. Add this to your .htaccess file.

RewriteEngine On
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^domain\.com [NC]
RewriteRule (.*) http://www.domain.com/$1 [L,R=301]

Add the above code to you .htaccess file and replace domain.com with your domain name.

I have another post on how to redirect www to non-www with .htaccess.

What is the Quality of your Sitemap.xml file?

How important is it to have an accurate, up-to-date sitemap.xml file for search engines?

According to Bing, it is very important.

In today’s Whiteboard Friday at SEOmoz, Duane Forrester of BingĀ unveiledĀ the idea that Bing has a quality threshold for the sitemap.xml file that a website submits. Duane states that Bing only wants to see “end state URLs” in the sitemap.xml. This declaration provides some insight to those keeping up on their sitemap.xml file.

Do not include URLs of the following nature:url address bar

  • No 404, 302, 301, etc.
  • No rel=”canonical”

This solidifies the importance for your sitemap.xml to be up-to-date and accurate with URL inclusion. Duane didn’t unfold that specifics of what happens to websites with “dirty” sitemap.xml files. He only indicates that a “dirty” sitemap.xml does impact how Bing views your website.