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Does the use of heavy graphics/images (with img tag or in the CSS) effect a site's Google ranking?

Sometimes sites are heavy because of the images used or Flash or lots of JavaScript - making the loading times higher.

Does the loading time also effect a site's Google ranking?

I've mentioned Google, but the question applies to all search engines.

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up vote 5 down vote accepted

Yes, but it's not a heavily weighted parameter.

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I would be more worried about the users. If load times are high than users would leave the site and we all know that search engines put a lot of weight behind user experience i.e. bounce rates, avg time spent etc so, it's very important to keep these in check!

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The first half of your answer is good but the second half is off target. Search engines don't know bounce rate or time on site so how can they use them in their algorithms? Not to mention neither are an accurate indication of quality. – John Conde May 29 '11 at 1:04

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