Organisations should ignore at their peril Google’s indication that it will name and shame slow-loading websites.

Our advice on this is to act now to improve website loading speeds in order to avoid damage to Google rankings.

For anyone who missed Google’s latest announcement, the internet giant is considering calling out websites with slow load speeds by displaying a ‘badge of shame’ within its Chrome web browser.

Fast websites rewarded

Suggestions for the badge of shame include a splash screen that appears on page loading, warning people it “usually loads slow”. Fast websites, on the other hand, could feature a green-coloured progress indicator.

Websites which are poorly built or employ outdated practices can have a significant effect on loading speeds regardless of broadband connection quality.

Making the announcement, Google said the web “can do better”.

The potential badge system is being planned to encourage developers to up their game when building websites.

Good user experience

Google states: “We are being very mindful with our approach to setting the bar for what is considered a good user experience and hope to land on something that is practically achievable by all developers.”

Google is now considering identifying and labelling websites that load slowly by looking at how long it takes sites to load historically. 

The tech giant states: “Further along, we may expand this to include identifying when a page is likely to be slow for a user based on their device and network conditions.” 

Grofuse Digital Director, Denis Finnegan, is warning businesses and other organisations to take heed of Google’s hint or prepare to face the consequences.

“Organisations relying on their websites for sales and marketing should take this latest hint from Google very seriously as it could result in falling revenues.

“The need for speed has become increasingly important in recent years. In July 2018, Google introduced speed as a ranking factor for mobile searches. Previously is was only a ranking factor for desktop.

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“Google now believes webmasters ‘can do better’ and is considering a badge system to encourage website developers to up their game when building and maintaining websites.”

No excuse for slow websites

Mr Finnegan adds: “There is no excuse for slow-running websites, it is essential that this is clearly communicated when working with developers. If your site is slow loading you are already being left behind and now Google plans to go a step further. Developers are being given an early warning by Google and the advice from them is not to wait to optimise for speed.

“When Google hints stuff, you should not ignore if you want to stay in the game,” adds Mr Finnegan.

Denis Finnegan is Digital Director at Grofuse. He has led successful SEO campaigns for organisations for more than a decade.