SEO Page Load Time
Another consideration for optimized content is the SEO page load time. This is the impact on SEO (either positive or negative) related to the time it takes for your page to load when a request is made to display your website pages. The reason page load time is a factor in search engine optimization is that the major search engines want their searchers to have the best experience that they can possibly have when they (the search engines) present a set of website pages in their search results. Slow page load time have a negative impact on the user experience.
I have written extensively about depth and variety of content. Web content depth and variety is, of course, of great significance to the search engines. I have also written about the quality of your content and the authority of your content and this also is of great importance to the search engines. However, if your have great depth, variety, authority and quality yet have not optimized your content for load time then you may be putting all your great content at a disadvantage in search.
SEO – Image Loading
A short story – I was contacted by a real estate agent that wanted me to help him with the search engine optimization of his website. When I first went to look at his site I noticed that the website pages – and in particular the images – were very slow to load. I looked more closely at the file size of the images and noticed that there was no image with a file size less than 2MB. 2MB! Some pages had multiple images and required – in some cases – 10s of MBs to be delivered for the pages to load. (Side note: to make matters worse for this real estate website and agent many of the visitors to this agent’s site lived in an area with no broad band ISPs – they used satellite or even dial-up.)
His site had a low position in search for many factors and one significant factor was that his page load times were off-the-chart slow. As noted above this matters to Google and the other major search engines. They want to create a great searcher experience. If they present a site with very slow page load times high in their search results then there is a good chance that people will click on the link they provide to this site and then have a bad experience waiting for pages to load. This reflects poorly on the search engines and therefore, even though the website content may be great, the experience is poor. Creating a poor visitor experience for a searcher is not what the search engines are in business to do. The result for the slow loading website page even if loaded with great content is a lower position in search than might otherwise be warranted.
Images are a great way to add interesting content to a webpage. I encourage you to do so. However, I want to stress that your images need to be optimized for quality and file size. These two items work against each other but if your images are going to be presented on a website then you can make the file size, relatively speaking, very small and not have to worry about image quality.
SEO – Page Load Time Tools
If you need some support to create web-ready (fast loading) images here are two helpful links.
Tiny PNG (Portable Network Graphic) http://tinypng.org/
This online tool will reduce the file size of your PNG files. It does not change the image dimension only the file size.
Easy Thumbnails http://www.fookes.com/ezthumbs/
This downloadable tool allows you to batch process images (I use this all the time) and also to change the image dimensions and file size (image file size compression). I will also note that when you download the tool you get only the tool – no extra freeware, or ads will be downloaded. This is clean software – I have it on my machine.
Both of these free tools can help you to compress your image files for fast page load time and still achieve high image quality.
Also, if you want to test the load time of your website pages then consider this online page load time testing tool. It is easy to use and will give you keen insights into your page load times.
Summary – SEO Page Load Time
Strive to create great content to attract the search engines and also to delight your visitors. Pay special attention to creating the best visitor experience that you can. This means to use great imagery and graphics but to have them optimized for the best combination of image quality and page load time. This is another important factor to achieving high search engine position.