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Can anyone foresee a drawback in doing this? (in terms of page loading times).
It then occurred to me that this might affect SERPs.
Has anyone any opinions regarding load times and SERPs?
It's always better to have a link text (www.yoursite.com/widgets.htm) than to have an image
link point to it. I always use text links.
As far as load times are concerned, they have nothing to do with it. The smaller the image, the less it will take time to load. For that, use .GIF's, they load faster and are
smaller on the server.
Hope that helps
One question I would pose: don't absolute links call an additional DNS lookup for each internal webpage the user selects, thus slowing down their browsing of your website? Plus the bloated code...
If I understand your question you are asking whether relative urls vs. absolute urls for a giving page affect load times? Is this correct...if so I think the effect would be negligible...as for how this would affect the SERPs...I don't see how it could affect the SERPs at all since this is just call to all the links on a particular page in order to bring in all the elements that make up that page...absolute vs. relative achieves the same thing..
The benefit to absolute urls is that you are now referencing the absolute position of the resource in question in relation to your directory tree (be it flat file or database...
And you will never have the problem of making the mistake of leaving out the necessary "/" before a file name when using relative url referencing which then means that a url string will not resolve properly from the inner pages of a site back to the root..
From the spiders perspective they now see a full domain reference for each link they encounter and my belief (and experience) is that this is beneficial...
Now, if you were referring to just the fact that you had to rename your "/images/..." calls from relative to absolute will this mean that everytime an image is called in for a particular page (and some pages of course can have many image calls) will this affect your page loading times? Well these events happen in milliseconds so if in fact you had several hundred images to call in for a particular page (why would anyone call in several hundred images per page I do not know)..then you might see a slight degrade in load times....
The points about DNS lookup are interesting. What I was most concerned about was whether browser caches would be affected in any way - I wouldn't want images to be reloaded unnecessarily. Any thoughts?
From an page inside the directory /images/ on the domain www.widgets.com
would result in an almost identical performance hit, (with the exception of a slight bloat in code for the client)
The only problem is if you were to permananently redirect at the server side!
where /images/ redirects to [someimagedomain.com...]
This is a massive hit on your server, if this is your intention you should use the full destination in the output html eg:
which is fine for your server (no activity), and normal for the image server.
I'd stick with absolute links just for the load time savings alone (reduced code).
On a site I'm currently working we're utilizing both absolute and relative links. Depends on how you use links and objects in general. For instance, I would be more likely to use a relative link as the source for an image then I would be to link to a page (I'd use relative for things like images, scripts, etc. but would think about linking to pages a little differently). This holds true if you have a keyword+keyword type URL. You'd want to use those keywords whereever possible regardless of whether or not it actually helped (because some day it might).