Expires Caching Tutorial – SEO Impact

What is expires cache?

This simply means resources within a website will be stored on a browser for a set amount of time. This reduces the amount of data transferred from web server to user browser. There a many resources within a website that can be stored in the browser cache and reused rather than repeatedly downloading from the server. Setting an expiry date for images and code will help a website to load faster and also reduce the data load on the server along with data usage for the user. This can improve the site satisfaction and experience as user save money by using less data on a monthly plan basis. Expires caching can also positively impact SEO scores and positions in the search results.

How to implement expires caching?

On an Apache Server simply add the following lines of code to the htaccess file.
Htaccess example:

<IfModule mod_expires.c>
ExpiresActive On
ExpiresDefault “access plus 10 days”
ExpiresByType text/css “access plus 1 week”
ExpiresByType text/plain “access plus 1 month”
ExpiresByType image/gif “access plus 1 month”
ExpiresByType image/png “access plus 1 month”
ExpiresByType image/jpeg “access plus 1 month”
ExpiresByType application/x-javascript “access plus 1 month”
ExpiresByType application/x-icon “access plus 1 year”

In this example you can see the different length of time that each resource is stored on the browser. This will generally be set from one week to one year. This is important to consider if a webpage is dynamic or static and by how often a page is updated with different types of resources.

How does expires caching affect SEO and improve page speed?

Every SEO element that improves the user experience will ultimately improve a websites placement within the search results. Some search engines can test websites to see if they have implemented expires cache appropriately. They then use this as a metric to measure the quality of a website and for how fast the pages load. Each individual ranking signal will contribute to the total SEO score and to out rank a competitors site in the search results, sometimes a higher total SEO score is needed. Expires cache is one of many SEO techniques that can really improve loading speeds for returning visitors, keep the site users happy and help to gain higher positions in the search results.