Everything else being equal, sites with meaningless graphics rank lower in search than lean, simple sites
Why is Google successful? Because it delivers faster—and more accurate—results than its competitors. Google understands the customer’s need for speed. “At Google, we’ve gathered hard data to reinforce our intuition that ‘speed matters’ on the Internet,” Jake Brutlag of Google wrote in 2009. “We’ve always viewed speed as a competitive advantage.”
Google did an experiment whereby they slowed down the delivery of search results. They found that increasing a page’s loading time by less than half a second has a measurably negative impact on searchers. The people who were exposed to the experiment over a period of time did fewer and fewer searches.
“Google has kept a promise it made last year,” Matt McGee of Search Engine Land wrote in April 2010. “Site speed is now a ranking factor in Google’s algorithm.” Google claims that there is abundant research that proves that customers love fast sites, so those are the sites Google rewards. Everything else being equal, the sites with big, fancy meaningless graphics and complicated code will rank lower in Google search results than fast, lean, simple sites.