SEO Tip #42: What impact does “page bloat” have on Google rankings?

Matt Cutts: I wouldn’t jump to conclusions. You know back in the early days of Google we used to truncate out about a hundred kilobytes, and so if you had a “page bloat” back then I could imagine that your content might get snipped off halfway through where you wouldn’t see all of it.

But Google does a much better job of seeing the entire page now. We don’t truncate at 100 kilobytes anymore. We can deal with a larger page so I wouldn’t really worry about “page bloat.” We tend to do a very good job of finding the content.

So if you have extra images don’t worry about that. If you have extra HTML markup don’t worry about that. I think the assumption that only SEOed pages that don’t have very many images, or that have very thin HTML designs, are the winners. I’m not sure I agree with that because if you think about it there are a lot of big sites and well-known brands that do well and often have very big pages.

They might have flash or they might have a lot of images and things like that. So there might be some niches where you’re paying attention to and it looks like only the sort of very focused pages with a lot of content do well.

But we try to return the best page, the most relevant page no matter what the query is. So don’t worry about it to the degree that you’re going to start making radical changes, pruning down content. Go ahead and do whatever you think is best for your users, the most informative and relevant page that you can make, and then we’ll try to return that.

We do a very good job of handling a so-called “bloat” and finding where the real content is on a page.

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About the Author

Andy Johnson

Andy Johnson has been on the Internet since the its dawn(ie his first computer program was recorded on cassette tape) and his first hard drive cost about as much his current MacBook. His first byline was in 1993 for a local newspaper rag he eventually helmed, and his last “real job” was at a computer start up which ended when it ended. Throughout it all he’s freelanced and blogged. Now he is mesmerized by Search Engine Optimization forever trying to “rise to the top” for the right reasons. He’s been married to his wife Julia for as long as he can remember and has two lovely, wonderful children. He looks forward to sharing the latest in the technical best for all the online entrepreneurs.