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Could slow loading pages affect my search engine ranking? Also, what can I do to speed up page load?
You want a fast loading page as it is a complete turn off to many when they have to wait for your site to load. Here are some tips that can help you with this.
I think it is mainly the image that is the crux of the matter. I have experienced the heavy images of the test site of a friend sometime in the year 2004. The internet access was generally slow but it was made slower by the high resolution images on the web page. One website designer said that images should be in GIF format that is appropriate for the internet (web pages actually) because JPG images are not designed for the web page.
It depends on the platform you are using. If you are using wordpress for example, using a optimized theme and having less active plugins usually helps.
Beware java scripts as they can cause a page to load slow.
Go to this great website http://tools.pingdom.com/fpt/ it can test the Load Time of a Web Page and shows everything that is loaded in your website.
I am not sure
Slow loading has adverse effect on your website ranking. Google is likely to downrank the websites that load slow and up rank the sites that load fast.
There are various reasons for slow speed, for instance, server speed, plugins used, coding, images etc. You may not be able to work on a technical aspect, however, you can improve site speed by optimizing images. Always use images with small dimension and file size. You can also use plugins that help to optimize images for better loading.
Based on experience, web pages with high quality images take a lot of time to load for displaying. Worse is the high quality video and animation on the web page, it will surely be slow to display the web page in full. One web designer said that images can be converted in a denser format as jpg so the display will be faster. And just to be sure your web page is faster, limit the contents to the bare minimum which is also easy to read.