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Speed Test shows the share buttons add 2 seconds to load time

     
7:29 pm on Aug 6, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Google Analytics reported a speed issue for 1 of my pages from this month to the previous and pointed me to their speed test site at [testmysite.thinkwithgoogle.com...]

I ran the speed test and notice if I disabled my Facebook, Google+ and Twitter share buttons (the code for the share widgets I got directly from Facebook, Google and Twitter) I could shave 2 seconds off a complete page load. I have the share buttons show once in the top navbar and the javascript for them load in the footer.

I am thinking of dropping the share buttons to see if the speed boost will give me a ranking boost. Anyone else try this?

The problem is I obviously loose any traffic I would get when someone shares a page...
9:55 pm on Aug 6, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Do you get much traffic from share buttons? If so, they're probably worth keeping, but if not, they're unnecessary baggage, especially if they're slowing down your pages and annoying users.
12:10 am on Aug 7, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Given the hype re: SM these days, privacy, and data collection, some users might just back out and leave because the buttons even exist on a page. How significant that might be in lost users is not known at this time, but it is real and growing.
1:16 am on Aug 7, 2018 (gmt 0)

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At what point in page load do those two seconds come? If itís two seconds after everything else has already loaded up, then who cares, unless you have reason to believe G### is gunning for you and has found a good excuse. If, on the other hand, significant parts of your page have to wait in limbo while those largely-irrelevant Like buttons are fetched ... thatís a problem no matter how you slice it.

You said the script is in the footer, which ought to (but doesn't necessarily) mean they won't start loading until everything else is taken care of.

With such an enormous time lag (two whole seconds? Yipes) itís worth trying your site on other peopleís browsers to see if there are visible problems.
2:10 am on Aug 7, 2018 (gmt 0)

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...if I disabled my Facebook, Google+ and Twitter share buttons (the code for the share widgets I got directly from Facebook, Google and Twitter) I could shave 2 seconds off a complete page load
Disable?

Are you referring to a widget or plugin that adds the Share utility for these 3 APIs? So you are actually saving 2 seconds when this code is not added to your markup?

Otherwise if the button is just "disabled" and the code is still present, there is no difference in performance. If the code is still there, it's that round trip journey of these scripts that added the performance hit.

Yes, there is always a price to pay for any possible return.
10:34 am on Aug 7, 2018 (gmt 0)

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you don't need to use the share widgets to have share buttons on your pages,
it's easy enough to do.
plus there is the benefit of those social apps not being able to log page views of the pages on YOUR site.

for instance in the case of facebook, you need only have a facebook icon that links thus:

http://www.facebook.com/sharer.php?u=https://www.example.com/mypage
11:41 am on Aug 7, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Sorry disable was a poor choice of words. I actually removed them for the test.

The buttons are of the last thing to be loaded since the javascript is located in the footer. They do not block rendering of the rest of the page and the visitor can definitely start reading or scrolling on the page before that.

The site was hit in the March updated and I plan on trying several different things to see if I can improve my rankings.

Since the ThinkWithGoogle site (powered by WebPageTest dot org) was what Google Analytics directed me too which tested my site based on a cell speed of 3G (among other things) you have to assume it is an important metric for Google and their algorithm. While the page is visible and can be read it seems Google feels it is important when the entire page is loaded

I always tested my pages with PageSpeed Insights by Google and virtually all pages are in the green.

The share buttons are used. It's not piles of traffic but every now and then a post does get popular. But if speeding up my pages load time increases my ranking it may be worth to switch.

@topr8 I did not know that about just using a link and not the widget. I originally had the widgets show the number of shares but had removed the numbers after we switched to HTTPS a year ago since they got reset to zero. Searching quickly online I see that Twitter has something similar. This is probably the best way to go.
11:55 am on Aug 7, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Google wants to reward sites that offer a good user experience, and page speed is a small part of that. Do the social media buttons affect the user experience? Probably not, since they load last, so removing them is unlikely to affect your rankings. PageSpeed Insights shows you how you measure up according to data from the Chrome User Experience Report, which is probably close so what Google uses in Search. Only the worst performing pages are likely to be affected by the Page Speed update. If you're in the green (for "Page Speed"), I wouldn't worry about it -- although faster is always a better user experience.
3:17 pm on Aug 7, 2018 (gmt 0)

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I recall Bruce Clay back in 2012 or so saying that Google's +1 button (remember that thing?) added two seconds to page load times. Even if the JavaScript required to load the buttons in question is asynchronous, it wouldn't surprise me that it's bogging the page down to this level.

Given the prevalence of built-in sharing functionality in browsers (especially on smartphones - Chrome's built-in sharing functionality is my go-to these days), you probably wouldn't lose much social activity by pulling the buttons. Any chance you could test removal of the functionality on a couple of pages, to see how it impacts sharing?
6:17 pm on Aug 7, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Agree with the link example topr8 supplied. That's what I do.

Just search for the icons, reduce size, and use them as image links. If you use Og code [ogp.me] in the HEAD, you can control what image & text gets shared on the Social Media page.
12:05 pm on Aug 12, 2018 (gmt 0)

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< moved from another location >

Knowing When To Drop Share Buttons

A lot of us to some extent have sharing buttons plastered all over our site. Obviously it slows down load times, in effect, hurting user experience (mildly SEO).

What is a good metric to indicate the share buttons need to go? I.e. poor sharing rates, higher bounce rates?

I'm trying to setup a test as to whether I should pull my addthis from my site. I figure it might be a question of value to those of us that blindly throws up sharing buttons.

[edited by: Robert_Charlton at 12:28 pm (utc) on Aug 12, 2018]
[edit reason] Moved post to this discussion [/edit]

5:22 pm on Aug 12, 2018 (gmt 0)

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The value of AddThis is for them, not you, they are known to market your data:
AddThis says its servers log:

- your internet protocol (IP) address.
- browser type.
- browser language.
- the date and time you visited that web page.
- if you came to a web page where an AddThis Button is enabled via a search - engine such as Google, the web search that landed you on that web page.
According to this older (2012) report: [theguardian.com...]

I learned about it years ago when they offered to share the data with me for payment. They sell to advertisers and marketing firms, no personal data but aggregated, analyzed data. Since I had noticed it slowing my own page views, I pulled it.

Most Social Share buttons collect statistical data, it's good to be aware of, and add that information to your privacy page to keep up with third party disclosures.

5:28 pm on Aug 12, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Each time you insert third party code into your page, you can be sure they'll collect data, some times ago, Facebook recognized that it collects data for BOTH members and non members. And with third part code, you can never be sure of what they are exactly doing, or will do in the future. You can try to sandbox third party code into an iframe, but the code may not longer work at all in that case (which is a proof they need to do obscure things)

As topr8 said, a good compromise is to simply use your own code. Every social networks have a static URL you can use, with just an icon/image, that you'll host yourself. Like that you have a total control of what is on your site.
5:30 pm on Aug 12, 2018 (gmt 0)

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I figure it might be a question of value to those of us that blindly throws up sharing buttons.


I go the other direction. A third party will have to PROVE a benefit to ME before I allow their product.

At present I have yet to see one advantage for ME in any of this stuff.

As for webmasters who throw everything and the kitchen sink on their site: NoScript takes care of all that. :)

Worst case I have encountered had 68 (sixty-eight) third party script running on each page. Didn't see any of that, of course. I did whitelist the originating site and have been happy ever since.

HAVING SAID THE ABOVE I can see the value in some of the tracking/metrics for ecommerce specifically, and to a certain extent news/entertainment. My "stuff" (and clients) are not in those categories.

Use what works for you. But if any part of that actually HURTS you (slow time) might re-think that one.
 

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