Google Testing Labels to Warn Users Off Slow Sites

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Is your website more of an e-snail than a digital dynamo? It might be time to work on your page loading speeds, because Google is testing a way to tell searchers about your sluggish site.

As spotted by K Neeraj Kayastha on Google+, Google seems to be testing bold, red 'Slow' labels in mobile SERPs (search engine results pages). The labels, presumably, appear next to sites that load at a speed that could affect mobile user experience.

Source: K Neeraj Kayastha at Google+

In that sense, the labels are similar in intent to the 'Mobile-friendly' and 'Mobile-unfriendly' labels that Google tested for a time.

These labels were then rolled out, in their positive, 'Mobile-friendly' form.

Google has been very active in extolling the virtues of a good mobile user experience, going as far to say that it was “experimenting with using the mobile-friendly criteria as a ranking signal”.

So, with Google's focus on mobile usability, it seems a fair bet that these labels will also make their way into general usage.

However, at the moment, details are scarce - it's not even clear whether the labels are appearing solely in mobile search results. Though it makes sense that they would be kept mobile-exclusive, as page loading speed tends to cause more problems on mobile devices.

Case in point: A survey by KissMetrics found that the majority of mobile customers would wait just six to ten seconds for a mobile site to load, before abandoning it.

Search Engine Land asked Google for comment on the matter, and was told simply that the search engine was "always experimenting".

Internet Marketing News from ClickThrough - an integrated digital marketing agency offering web design services, web development, SEO, PPC, content, online PR and conversion optimisation.

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