Heads Up! Google Slapping Slow Websites with Red Warning Label.

Does your website take a long time to load for desktops and mobile devices?

Snail Slow Website

Heads up! Google is testing a red slow label on their search engine results page that will warn your target market before they have a chance to click that link to check out your website.

Is a Slow Website Load Time Bad for Google SEO?

Sometime back in 2010, Google started using a webpage’s speed as a ranking factor for their search engine algorithm. Over the years, Google has released a number of SEO tools and online reports to help improve your website’s page speed for both the human searchers and the search engine algorithms.

On February 25th, 2015, people started noticing that Google may actually be testing a red label marked as SLOW to highlight websites for mobile search.

How is Google’s Red Slow Label Displayed?

This slow label highlights the speed of a specific web page before the searcher has a chance to click the link over to your website.

Here’s a screenshot from K Neeraj Kayastha:

Google Mobile Slow Label

(I wasn’t able to get Google’s slow label to show up for any of my searches on my own iPhone 6.)

As this is still being tested, the red slow label may not go live for some time.

Of course, Google is always in “experimenting” mode so it may just be a matter of time before it goes live like the mobile-friendly label deployed not so long ago.

How Do You Fix Slow Website Load Time?

  1. You need to test your own website’s page speed. Google has a Free PageSpeed Insights tool for you.
  2. Just follow the steps listed under the test results (or send them to your super smart SEO consultant).
  3. Re-launch Google’s page speed tools after the fixes have been made.
  4. Voila! Red slow label disappears!

(Google may or may not make this red slow label change live, but speed has always played a factor in increasing your search rankings. Even if you don’t see the label, test and optimize your website to ensure quicker load times and happy visitors.)

Photo courtesy of Radii.

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Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • Another resource I like is Pingdom’s website speed test. It breaks down all of the resources that your page is pulling in and can be great to see if an external source (sometimes Facebook or a script CDN) may be putting a drag on your loading times.

    You can try it out here: http://tools.pingdom.com/fpt/

    • That’s a great took, Dan! How can users best interpret how to use it? It’s quite technical and can get some website owners frustrated to look at. Any “human” advice?

  • Good advice Shannon. What is a good benchmark in seconds for a site load time to not be considered slow?

    • Hi Brian! Server response issues trigger when Google PageSpeed Insights detects that your server response time is above 200 ms.