Google +1 and Facebook Like buttons increase your page’s load time. Research shows that each additional second can cost you literally tens of percents of potential visitors. Our findings that adding the Google +1 button can increase load time by almost a full second is therefore significant. Moreover, Google ranking algorithm takes page load time into account and landing page load time affects the Adwords quality score.
A Facebook Like button or rectangle with friends’ faces is considered standard these days as well. In our experiment we focused on measuring the effects of these social elements on page load time. We repeatedly measured page load times on four web sites (with three different hosting providers) using the online services tools.pingdom.com, gtmetrix.com a siteloadtest.com.
We averaged the results to find the mean effect on time from click to display when Facebook and Google +1 buttons are displayed. We measured load time for the Facebook button (inserted as iframe) showing friends’ faces, without faces, with an additional Google +1 button and then with the +1 button on its own, comparing it to load time without any of these social buttons.
The graphs below show our results:
The measurements have shown that a Google +1 button on its own had the least effect on load time, while Facebook Like showing friends’ faces understandably added the most.
What is to be done?
The easiest ways to further speed up sites using Google +1 and Facebook Like buttons are:
- turning off the Google +1 and Facebook Like counters
- turning off faces for Facebook Like
- only displaying social buttons if new content is shown
There is much more room to improve various aspects of website performance and we are happy to help!