Google’s Testing a Way of Telling People Your Website Is Slow

  • March 4, 2015

    Making your website load quickly is a good idea. People hate waiting around for pages to load and as our attention spans gets ever shorter, having information delivered right now gets even more important. Of course we’ve known for a long time that fast pages are a good idea but until Google weighed in and said that they’re actually using page speed it as a ranking metric, not many people would do anything about it. Even then, it seemed that Google’s announcement mostly just served as a method by which hosting providers could cajole you into buying their new faster packages.

    Even if page speed is important, we all kind of know that the only sites that would take a big hit are those that insist on making us download huge images. If your site is a bit slower than others then, well, it’s not that big a deal. Is it?

    It seems now that Google are testing ways to make it a big deal and as announced by Search Engine Land, they’ve been testing something new:


    Picture from K Neeraj Kayastha via Search Engine Journal

    Yep – red marks next to slow websites.

    Of course, this is a very early test and it could take years before we see anything actually work its way into the search results, but it’s a headsup that they do indeed take page speed seriously. And for good reason.

    We all want a fast, useful web and for a very long time we’ve put up with poorly designed websites that aren’t optimised for reading and downloading. Also, even though wireless speeds have picked up and there’s fibre to more houses than ever, mobile has taken off in a grand way. 4G isn’t everywhere and it’s still quite expensive, Google might just be about to warn people that a site will take a long time, and cost a lot to view.

    This testing may not work though. Humans are weird and it might be that seeing that red blob next to a result means we’ll be more likely to click on it. Only time will tell!

    You Should Create Fast Pages Anyway

    Of course, if you create any kind of content then you should try your hardest to make it load fast anyway. You shouldn’t wait for Google to validate your choice to choose a lean website over a bloated and overly complex one, just think about your readers. It’s also not a difficult thing to do and Google helpfully provides an on-line tool to show you how fast your site is and what you can do about it.

    If your website isn’t fast, easy to navigate and pleasant to view, the least of your worries will be Google. People will turn away in their droves, so start making the change right now.

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