Selected answers from the Dumb SEO Questions G+ community.
Mike Stetzer: Social integration is a crucial component to having a strong online presence, but can this Facebook API cause more harm than good by significantly increasing page load times?
Andy Wigglesworth: There are so many factors ;- it's not just the Facebook API thats going to cause issues, it's everything from generally bad coding, database requests to plugins (if you use them) to network requests to the server to the end users internet connection.
The facebook API (hard coded - ie not using plugins) I found (from memory - i'd have to check my tests again) was anywhere from 100ms - 200ms delay - obviously as soon as you start adding twitter, then G+ then it can lead to 500ms added time.
There are some clever ways to combat some of the lost time, there are some that cost you money (like better hosting, CDN's etc).
So, going back to the original question - will it do any harm by adding roughly 200ms to a page load time - I personally don't think so - but if you page load time is greater than 5 seconds then you have other issues.
Luke Ciciliano: ;is correct in that the impact on load time depends greatly on how the integration into the site is performed . How are you integrating Facebook currently? ;
Mike Stetzer: ;On the homepage of one of our sites (the one that isn't on a CMS), we're using the Facebook API to pull the like button, as well as displaying the total number of likes we've received.
I agree with ;when he talks about DB requests and generally bad coding. ;
I guess the question that needs to be asked is if it's better to just link to your social pages with a static image as opposed to using the API and displaying the total number of likes on each page. I've searched around and noticed a lot of sites doing it this way. ; ;
Luke Ciciliano: Which is the approach we take. We avoid necessary API's or other bloat whenever possible.