If you cringe at the thought of customers bouncing from your website because of slow loading speed, Google’s potentially going to make it a whole lot more punishing to your bottom line as part of their new website speed test alert.
Imagine this scenario … you’re far away from home on a business trip and decide to order dinner in after a long and tiring day. Not knowing the local restaurant scene, you Google your choice of culinary fare and the following search results are presented to you….
Would you click on restaurant website A or B? Do I even need to ask?
The depiction above is my own mock-up of what the notification could look like as no one knows for sure (except the folks at Google), but the implications are clear as day. You get the picture.
Google’s Website Speed Test Alert a.k.a. “The Public Badge of Shame”
That’s right! A few months back, Google announced that it will be publicly flagging websites that run slow. A new “badging” feature will be rolled out to inform users, up-front, about the speed and performance of the website they are about to access, and will make it abundantly clear to the users when the site is a slow loader.
Google has said it’s their attempt to encourage website developers/owners to improve their loading speed in an effort to promote better user experience. And, the criteria will become stricter over time. It will function as a public “badge of shame” for all visitors to see and will compel businesses to treat website performance more seriously and take active steps to improve. For fast loading websites, a green indicator will notify the users that the site loads fast. You can read the full Google Blog Post for more details.
When does Google’s Website Speed Alert Start?
It’s not entirely clear when the web speed alert system will be implemented, but I’d advise you not to wait to do something about your slow website speed.
Why? Not only are you losing potential customers to your competition and hurting your current SEO page rank, Google has also stated that the badge system will be inclusive of historical load speed data, meaning the longer you wait to improve the higher the probability of your site being flagged once the system is rolled out.
What’s Your Current Website Speed?
After reading this article, you’ll probably pick up your smartphone, maybe go on your laptop, and check out your site to see how fast it loads….not too bad, right? Sorry to burst your bubble, but the difference between your visual experience and how Google views your website loading speed are two entirely different things…and its Google’s perception that counts when it comes to the “Public Badge of Shame”. Google uses a variety of factors, most of them technical, to measure and gauge your website’s loading speed. The only way to tell how Google views your website’s speed is by using a speed test tool.
There are a variety of free online tools that will give you an idea of how Google and visitors experience your website speed. They all produce slightly different results, due mostly to the physical location of test servers, but overall they will give you a sense of your page speed score and suggest areas that should be fixed. Two of the more popular tools are GTMetrix and Pingdom. Just enter the URL you wish to analyze and viola! – instant grading of your site’s web speed!
What Can You Do About It?
- Talk to your current web designer.
If you already have regular website support, talk to them about your page speed results and what they can do about it. Be warned though, website optimization requires a very specific technical skill set – many web designers are great at designing sites, but have no experience nor understanding of how to effectively address the underlying technical issues.
- Fix it yourself.
If you are running WordPress, there are a variety of decent plugins that can be implemented on your site to assist in achieving standard best practices such as page caching and asset optimization. If you enjoy technical tinkering and aren’t afraid of potentially taking down your site, you can give some of the plugins located at the WordPress Plugin Repository a try.
- Hire an Optimization Specialist.
If you’re looking for a sure thing, without the risk of taking your site down or spending scads of time learning the technical ins-and-outs of optimization, you could go the route of paying a professional to handle the task. If you’re running WordPress, there are a variety of providers that can handle the job but you will most likely find the service offerings and pricing all over the map.
Shameless Plug Ahead … But I Guarantee To Back It Up! 😉
If you want it done quick and thoroughly, Studio 6AM specializes in optimizing WordPress sites. I have a ton of deep-dive experience and I’ve produced impressive results for both small businesses and, through my white-labelled service, partnering web designers/developers.
Check out the results from one of my most recent optimizations:
“I hired Lee to optimize one of my more complex client websites. Not only did he increase the average page speed by over 20%, he provided me with a clear, in-depth report that documented how to squeeze every last ounce of page speed out of my other client websites.
Lee is professional, quick and effective. I highly recommend him to optimize your WordPress site and look forward to working with him again in the near future.”
– Jacqueline Sowell, Web UX Designer and Developer, Owner of Gotsowell LLC Websites
My optimization services are affordable and come with a 100% money back guarantee, so there’s no risk on your end. Click here for your free assessment and 15% discount, or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll nip that Google Badge of Shame right in the bud!
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