Welcome to Part 5 of our 6-part series on SEO for escape rooms that covers Page Speed & Security.
Our SEO Series for Escape Rooms includes:
- Part 1: Crawlable Pages
- Part 2: Keywords
- Part 3: Authoritative Content
- Part 4: Structured Data & Rich Snippets
- Part 5: Page Speed & Security
- Part 6: Local SEO (coming soon)
A great way to optimize your website for search engines is to increase your website’s speed and security! Your website should look great from a visual UI perspective, and function well from a user experience perspective. Escape room players should be able to load your site, navigate your site, and complete a booking on your site in an easy, fulfilling way— on every device, at every speed, and in a secure manner.
A great way to improve your ranking in search results is to make sure your website loads really fast! Page load time is a well known ranking factor, so you should optimize your page so it loads as quickly as possible. Google has stated for years that fast-loading sites are favored in search results, because its goal is to give searchers a great customer experience.
It is important to note, that mobile-friendly websites tend to load faster (especially on mobile and smart devices). Making your website responsive to any screen size will not only improve the user experience, but it will likely improve your ranking in search results.
Step 1: Run A Speed Test
To start, you should run a speed test to see how quickly your website loads.
Pingdom has a great website speed test that you can use for free. There could be hundreds of factors that cause your site to load slowly, but they will help identify a lot of issues.
Unfortunately, bad coding practices or inefficient code is usually a significant issue here. This is another one of those areas where you may have to make a significant technical investment rewriting all or some of your site.
Step 2: Consider Upgrading Your Hosting
Another thing to consider is upgrading your web hosting. You can get super fast Solid State Drive (SSD) hosting now a days for less than $6.00 / month.
- ~25.000 monthly visits
- SSL included
- Free site transfer
- Solid State Drive (SSD)
- SuperCacher with 3 levels of caching for lighting quick load times
- Level 1: Static content cache
- Level 2: Dynamic data cache
- Level 3: Database queries results cache
- 24/7 Support
Learn more about Siteground’s awesome hosting service by clicking here.
If you’re running your website on WordPress and you prefer to stick with your current hosting provider, the WP Rocket plugin is a great choice for boosting a wide array of page speed metrics, including minimizing CSS and JS.
If you’re looking for a good free option, there are a number of WordPress plugins out there. W3 Total Cache does a pretty good job.
Step 4: Compress & Resize Your Images
Again, Siteground offers this service free with their GrowBig hosting plan via their SG Optimizer plugin (screenshot below).
Alternatively, you can run all your images through an image optimizer like tinypng.com. You can just drag your website images into there and typically they will reduce the file size by around 50-75%. That is a huge decrease in load time.
Also, consider resizing your images to be the same size as they display on your website. You don’t need to be loading huge images that are going to be shown in a small resolution.
Secure websites rank higher in search engine results, so when it comes to optimization, don’t forget about security! Security is especially important for escape room websites, because players provide financial information when the book a game. Making sure your website is secure is good for SEO, and it is a great way to build trust with your customers.
Consider upgrading your current site to HTTPS so that your entire site becomes completely encrypted. HTTPS is a security protocol guaranteeing that users are talking to the server they expect, and preventing content from being intercepted or changed in transit.
HTTPS is not the only thing, but it is a big part of what search engines care about. HTTPS websites with SSL Certificates are not just for eCommerce sites that accept payments; HTTPS is a stated Google ranking factor for all websites. In addition, you should note that browsers like Chrome have started displaying warnings for all non HTTPS encrypted websites.
Step 1: Install An SSL Certificate On Your Website
To upgrade your website to HTTPS, you’ll need an SSL Certificate. Fortunately, Siteground hosting will seamlessly install a free SSL Certificate from Let’s Encrypt with any of their hosting plans.
Step 2: Keep Software Up To Date
Another way to ensure your website is secure is to keep your software up to date. If you have WordPress plugins, booking software, or another type of CRM running on your website, it is vital to keep them up to date. You should also delete files, applications, or databases that you are no longer using. Finally, be wary of unsafe plugins too.
Step 3: Use Strong Passwords
Using strong passwords is important to website security. Get into the habit of using longer, complex passwords that contain a mix of upper and lower case letters, numbers, and special characters.
Step 4: Backup Your Website Regularly
Another recommended security measure is backing up your website date. Regularly backing up your website files to an offsite location can be invaluable if your website is hacked, or your data is lost. For WordPress, we recommend the free and simple plugin, UpdraftPlus WordPress Backup, which allows users to automatically backup their website on a schedule to Google Drive, Dropbox, and more.
Step 5: Scan Your Website For Vulnerabilities
It is a good idea to perform regular scans to check for website and server vulnerabilities. EscapeFront uses the free Wordfence Security plugin to handle this.
Increasing the speed and security of your web page is an important step for search engine optimization. Be sure to check out the final article in our SEO series discussing Local SEO!
About the Author
Brad Kendall is the Co-founder and Chief Technical Officer at EscapeAssist. Brad became obsessed with escape rooms in 2015, but was frustrated with the lack of user-friendly websites and booking systems. In 2016 he set out to build a better solution for escape rooms by designing the EscapeAssist All-In-One Software.
Brad has over 10 years of technical experience, and has worked with and/or founded tech companies in California, New York, Canada, and London. He has acted in both technical and non-technical roles to implement successful tech projects for various fortune 500 companies.