Minification and SEO
Minification is a fairly new element that impacts your search engine optimization efforts. What is minification, why does it happen, and how can you reduce its' impact? Glad you asked, because this post is going to answer those questions for you.
A really basic definition of minification is that it's a process web developers use to get rid of all the unnecessary characters in source code, but keeps the functionality. This makes pages load faster, which is a good thing, because none of us want to sit around forever, waiting for a web page to load. We don't put up with that at all!
When web developers are creating sites, they use all kinds of extra characters, comments and notes for their use in developing pages. The problem is, the search engine crawlers don't need all of that, and all the extra stuff slows down the page load speed time, which is not good for the web user, and Google constantly tells you through Search Console that dammit, you need to speed those web pages up!
But fear not, this is a problem that is very fixable. Not by you, the SEO person (unless you're also a web developer), but by your friendly neighborhood web dev person!
The experts at StackPath say it so much better than me. Here you go:
"Minification strips a code file of all data that isn’t required in order for the file to be executed. Unlike traditional compression techniques, minified files don’t need to be decompressed before they can be read, modified or executed.
Minification is performed after the code for a web application is written, but before the application is deployed. When a user requests a webpage, the minified version is sent instead of the full version, resulting in faster response times and lower bandwidth costs.
"Minification works by analyzing and rewriting the text-based parts of a website to reduce its overall file size."
Minification Issues & SEO
OK, kewl! But what exactly does a lack of minification hurt on websites anyways? How about these elements:
- Visible content
OK, great! How the hell do I find out if these elements on a website are hosed? Google Search Console is the most helpful service next to Google Analytics. You pick a site. On the left hand dashboard, click on Other Resources, then move to the right and click on PageSpeed Insights.
When you click on PageSpeed Insights, the tool automatically analyzes the home page. You'll get results that look like this:
Click on any one of these and you'll see the following:
Well great, you say...what do I do with this stuff? Give all of this information to your web developer and work on a schedule to fix these issues. You can see minification problems for both mobile and desktop in Google Search Console, and they are usually quite similar in scope.
So now you know what minification is, why it impacts your SEO efforts, how to find the specific issues and get them fixed! You are an SEO hero!
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Until we meet again, stay safely between the ditches!
All the very best to you,
Images courtesy of author