What is Excessive DOM Size?

Importance Rating of 6/10

The DOM (Document Object Model) refers to the structure and code that makes up the elements on a web page, like images, headers, text, etc. The DOM size is the total number of DOM elements on a given page.

Excessive DOM size means there are too many DOM elements on a page. 

SEO Implications of Excessive DOM

From an SEO (search engine optimization) perspective, excessive DOM can have both positive and negative impacts, and its importance can vary depending on several factors.

Positive Impact

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A website with a complex DOM structure can offer a rich user experience, with interactive and dynamic content. This can lead to increased user engagement, longer visit durations, and potentially lower bounce rates, which are all positive SEO signals.

Negative Impact

Excessive DOM can negatively affect SEO in various ways:

  • Slows down page load speed since the browser has to load a heavy DOM.
    Slow sites get lower SEO rankings.
  • Causes low quality user experience on mobile devices or slow connections.
  • Can result in pages timing out before bots can crawl them, leading to indexing issues.
  • Creates a drain on server resources and bandwidth to load massive DOMs.
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Crawlability: Search engine bots may have difficulty crawling and understanding the content if the DOM structure is overly complex. This can lead to indexing issues and, consequently, lower search visibility.

Page Speed: A large DOM size can contribute to increased page load times, which is a crucial ranking factor. Slow-loading pages may result in higher bounce rates and lower search rankings.

Mobile Optimization: Excessive DOM can make it challenging to optimize a website for mobile devices. Since mobile-friendliness is now a significant ranking factor, poor mobile experience due to a complex DOM can affect SEO performance.

Code-to-Content Ratio: A higher ratio of code-to-content due to excessive DOM can dilute the relevance of the main content on a page. Search engines often prioritize content relevance, so a lower code-to-content ratio can be beneficial for SEO.

Considering these factors, excessive DOM can have both positive and negative impacts on SEO. While a rich user experience can improve certain SEO aspects, issues like crawlability, page speed, mobile optimization, and content relevance may hinder search engine visibility. Therefore, it is crucial to strike a balance between a complex DOM and maintaining a well-optimized website.

Common reasons (and some fixes) for excessive DOMs

Page Builders that generate bloated HTML

Page builders like Elementor or WP bakery often create bloated code that has a large number of DOM nodes. There is no easy fix for this.

Text that is copied and pasted into a WYSIWYG editor

Most WYSIWYG editors like TinyMCE do a bad job at cleaning up pasted code, especially when pasted from another rich text source like Microsoft Word. It will not only copy the text but also the styles. Those styles may be embedded in a large number of DOM nodes. The solution to this issue is simple. Stop pasting content into your editor and clean up pages that already have pasted, bloated text.

DOM nodes created by a JavaScript

A JavaScript feature, for example a chat feature, might inject a large number of DOM nodes into the DOM. In this case remove the JavaScript file or find a replacement with the same functionality.

Badly coded plugins in your CMS

When a plugin, for example a slider or a calendar plugin creates a large amount of DOM nodes you could consider replacing this plugin with a more streamlined plugin.

Bad (template) coding

A large DOM size can lead to unappealing and inefficient code on your website. To combat this, you need to take steps to rewrite parts of your template or to even start from a fresh page. Switching to a different editor can also help prevent your website from becoming bloated.

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