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Can Heavy Use of CSS make page load slow

Excessive use of JavaScript and CSS

     
1:14 pm on Jul 31, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Hello CSS Experts,

This is a my friend's website and we are taking SEO services for website ranking improving and we use only 4 files on the website but SEO & CSS expert said that we can using maximum of 3 CSS files on the website to make the website search engine friendly and help the pages load faster.

SO please suggest me how many CSS file we can you for website to make the website search engine friendly and help the pages load faster.?



Below mentioned is the SEO & CSS expert recommend:

Checkpoint 1: Heavy Use of CSS
We find excessive use of CSS on your website. Use of CSS code within the body tag of website pages makes the pages heavy and difficult to load both for search engines and direct visitors to your website. And also suggest me


For Example:
<link rel="stylesheet" type="text/css" href="http://example.com/theme265/css/styles.css" media="all" />

<link rel="stylesheet" type="text/css" href="http://example.com/css/styles.css" media="all" />

<link rel="stylesheet" type="text/css" href="http://example.com/css/widgets.css" media="all" />

<link rel="stylesheet" type="text/css" href="http://example.com/css/print.css" media="print" />

Solution:
We recommend using maximum of 3 CSS files on the website to make the website search engine friendly and help the pages load faster.

[edited by: DrDoc at 3:59 pm (utc) on Jul 31, 2013]
[edit reason] Examplified domains [/edit]

3:05 pm on July 31, 2013 (gmt 0)

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I'd say that this recommendation is a sign of an SEO company looking for reasons to show you why you need them to improve your site, and is not an issue for your website's performance or rankings.

First of all, the report is obviously generated by software, and not a human evaluator. It failed to notice that the third stylesheet is for "print" only, which means it would have no effect on speed for the user or search engines.

Second, the number of stylesheets used is only a significant speed issue in terms of the overall number HTTP requests required to render the page. It's a gross exaggeration to say that extra stylesheets or "use of CSS code within the body tag" have a significant effect on page loading except in extreme cases.
5:42 pm on Aug 1, 2013 (gmt 0)

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SO please suggest me how many CSS file we can you for website to make the website search engine friendly and help the pages load faster.?

I only ever use one, because although CSS isn't usually a large download item, each new file results in a new upstream request to the server and most browsers usually only open two connections to a host at any given time, so when there's 4 CSS files nothing else starts downloading until 3 of them are complete, but if there is only one CSS file the "next resource" will be downloaded concurrently.

So, the "short answer" is yes, extra requests to the server for CSS (or anything else) that keep a different resource from being requested can slow your site loading down, but it's not a huge deal unless your site is slow, because connection speeds are only getting better these days.
11:04 pm on Aug 1, 2013 (gmt 0)

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btw, this thread (and its sister thread in Javascript) ended up with a misleading title. The actual use of CSS and/or JS normally has no effect on load time. The question is really about the number of external files.

I think everyone will agree that having nineteen external CSS files (this is the highest number I've seen, by actual count, in the course of looking at other sites' html) is excessive ;)
11:49 pm on Aug 1, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Why is the OP asking us when he's paying someone else to answer these questions?

As Matt Cutts of Google said, SEO companies are mostly a joke. (or so he said in not as many words.)
11:47 pm on Aug 2, 2013 (gmt 0)

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In the days of dialup these considerations might have made a difference, but even the slowest ADSL these days is a gazillion times faster. Real page weight is in images or video... or text the length of War and Peace.
12:16 pm on Aug 3, 2013 (gmt 0)

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@tangor A round trip from browser to server is 90ms or more so the number of requests is significant no matter how fast your broadband is.
8:23 pm on Aug 3, 2013 (gmt 0)

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It isn't simply about load time but about number of requests in and of itself. Every server has a concurrent-requests ceiling. And until the first 6 or 30 or whatever it may be is out of the way, nothing else can happen.

Incidentally, some users-- including some with a fairly visible internet presence-- are still on dialup. Many more are on satellite, which by its nature can't get much faster.