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17
Mar

Google Begins Tests to Warn Users of Slow Websites in Search

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New hints within the search listings could be damaging your website’s reputation

Google now shows red SLOW labels for websites to improve the user’s experience. But could these new warnings stop users from clicking through to your site?

Is the functioning of your site slowing down the amount of traffic available to you? Google is currently running a test which warns casual browsers about the speed ratings of some sites. Since 2010 Google has been taking steps to tackle page speed, even going so far as to include it as one of their many ranking factors. We’ve also seen a raft of tools and reporting programs that are designed to help page owners boost their traffic. If these hints were not enough, Google is now actively targeting websites that it thinks are running too slowly, warning viewers about potential delays when clicking through to them from their search platform.

The Google warning

You may not have seen these warning signs yet, but they take the form of bright red label just below the website meta title. These red labels will be appearing on the search engine descriptions for sites which load at speeds which could affect the viewing experience of casual browsers, particularly those on mobiles and tablets. On these devices, slow loading can be a serious inconvenience, so it makes sense that Google will be focused on helping customers to avoid these problems.

Slow pages and mobile use

Since more and more internet browsing is being done through mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones, it makes sense that the larger search engines will want to push websites into running more efficiently. Google in particular has made it clear that it wants their mobile users to have a positive experience, and have even suggested that in the future they may be using mobile-friendly points as part of their overall ranking system. This could be a serious issue for those who have slower websites, or platforms that aren’t optimised for mobile browsers. Google are trying to help business websites by informing them about slow delivery and loading times which could be affecting whether users stay on your website, or move on to your rivals.

What the future holds for these labels

At the moment, the red ‘slow’ labels are an experiment in order to assess whether they would benefit browser users in the long-term. While this means that labels might not be applied to all of the websites in the immediate future, it seems more likely that this will become the standard practice for displaying websites on Google’s search rankings page. It also means that websites will have to pay more attention to the download speeds of images and graphics.

What website owners can do about this?

When Google labels a website as slow running, it is essentially encouraging viewers to avoid that website, and look for other options. If you have competitors targeting the same keywords as you, you could be losing out to them if your website is slow. A professional SEO consultant or agency can help you remove dead links, identify slow-loading pages and rectify poor design choices, all of which could be slowing you down. SEO experts can assess problematical areas and ensure that you get the best from your website, preventing your mobile-friendly areas from loading slowly and avoiding loss of business through an inadequate user experience!

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