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Let's say that I have a hypothetical webpage:

I have an absolutely positioned HTML5 <video> tag that is set to automatically play. It is sized to occupy the entire browser window and functionally be the page's background image.

On top of said video I have an inline SVG whose child elements each have a CSS @keyframes animation which cause them to scale and translate forever in a loop.

On top of that SVG I have some divs and images and text all with their own transition css property set. Javascript then adds and removes classes on these elements causing them to scoot around at various intervals using things like margin, left, and padding

Suffice it to say this page uses a lot of CPU to make all of these layers render and paint and draw and the like. If a user on a typical computer goes to this site their CPU will get hot and their fans will spin and all manner of bad things.

Does google care about any of this though? Are they looking at the computational cost of the site when they make their determination about page rank? Or, presuming this site of mine has all its other SEO ducks in a row - loads resources fast, not too many requests, good code, keywords, etc, will it achieve good rank despite killing user's computers?

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    Who cares what search engines think? You should be thinking about your users! – John Conde Dec 7 '18 at 22:35
  • Ha, yes. Of course. But clients care about what search engines think and they tend to withhold money when they aren't happy. – WillD Dec 7 '18 at 22:37
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    But search engines also care about what users think. Even if search engines don't specifically measure browser CPU cycles as a ranking factor, they will notice if users back out of the site because it is bogging down their computer. – Stephen Ostermiller Dec 7 '18 at 22:42
  • "this site" is one thing; this "webpage" is another. What does Google see to index on this page? – MrWhite Dec 7 '18 at 23:26
  • I have not heard of processing overhead being used as a ranking signal. File size and load time are factors, however – tshimkus Dec 8 '18 at 20:21
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Crawlers don't necessarily take into account CPU but page loading time is a factor that is taken into consideration. If your page takes too long to respond then it will not be indexed and it will have an impact on your ranking. This, of course, on top of the fact that user experience will be bad, furthermore affecting your ranking.

0

Any type of server load should not affect your SEO rankings as long as the client experience stays good.

I recommend using the newly refreshed page speed tool released by Google here: https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights/. As long the URL is publically accessible you can use that resource to quickly test things out.

For troubleshooting performance on your dev machine or with more precision, I recommend using the Lighthouse extension here: https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/lighthouse/blipmdconlkpinefehnmjammfjpmpbjk?hl=en . This is the extension publically endorsed by Google to test page speed issues.

Finally, it sounds like you're building a pretty involved experience for users. I would make sure that everything is functional for Google which is currently using Chrome 41 for rendering (https://developers.google.com/search/docs/guides/rendering). I would test everything using that version of Chrome which can be found here: https://filehippo.com/download_google_chrome/60453/.

Good luck!

  • They are asking about CPU use of the browser, not of the server. – Stephen Ostermiller Dec 11 '18 at 15:52

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