Since 2010, Google have used a site’s speed as a signal within its search engine algorithm. As a result, websites with slow load times would typically rank lower in search results. Resulting in far fewer visitors from organic search in some circumstances.
On November 11th, Google revealed that it would soon identify sites that typically load fast or slow for users with clear badging. These badges could appear on load screens as well as other areas throughout Chrome.
Chrome is a browser developed and owned by Google. It is also by far the most popular web browser, with it commanding around 60% of the mobile market. Meaning brands and developers must approach this ambiguous announcement with caution.
Where Will These Badges Appear?
These so-called badges may appear in several locations, with Google planning to perform various experiments. However, the example provided below suggests that they will initially be targeting the loading screen within Chrome.
It is the location of these badges that will have the greatest influence on their impact. This is as a badge displayed before a visitor clicks on a link to your website could prevent the user visiting altogether. Whilst a badge displayed once the user has already clicked on a link to your website may simply discourage them from returning in the future.
Will This Impact My Organic Rankings?
Although Google’s announcement is ambiguous, there is no suggestion of it accompanying an algorithm update. Therefore, you needn’t worry about any immediate change in which site speed is a focal aspect.
However, site speed currently influences your likelihood of ranking and is therefore an important factor to consider. Begin by using Google’s PageSpeed tool to see whether your website is fast or slow loading.
As consumers increase their use of mobile devices to discover information, products, and services, Google will continue to focus on overall usability. At the heart of this is the speed at which your website loads.
Therefore, this announcement illustrates the importance of a user-friendly website that is both easy to navigate and fast loading. Something which can often be fixed with a few simple changes to your website or hosting.
If you would like to know more about how site speed and other factors impact your rankings, learn more about my SEO consultancy. Also keep an eye out for my future articles on site speed and its implications on your brand’s success.