Google Testing a Red Flag for Slow Websites
Ever since Google hit the market, slow websites have always been unattractive to his algorithm. Nevertheless, as spotted by Search Engine Land, it looks like the California-based company is taking his “hatred” for slow websites a bit further. Indeed, by attempting to flag slow websites with a red label in the SERP, it looks now clearer that Google has officially started his war to slow-to-move websites.
How to test if your website is slow
As SEOs, we always liked to test the speed of our clients’ sites. After testing a large bunch of tools, we feel to recommend two of them (free of course) which provide a deep understanding of the overall speed score as well as of those factors that need to be fixed to improve performance.
The official website speed test by Google can be a very good start as it gives his users a good hint on how likely Google would be Google to give them a slow website flag. This tool will provide a mark out of 100 and it is based on several factors such as image loading time, clean coding, user experience and many more.
Another great free tool is GTmetrix.com which compares both Google and Yahoo scores on website speed (Google is usually tougher than Yahoo). A part from this lovely comparison, GTmetrix also provides his users with a long list of factors that need to be improved to increase their website speed.
How to improve your website speed and avoid a slow flag
Check your hosting. Being stingy on your hosting is never a good pick. Try spending an extra penny it will be worth it
Plug-ins cluttering. Loading your website with plug-ins you will never use, it is never a good strategy and it will negatively affect your site speed. Try to unload your site of unnecessary plug-ins or try our CMS that does not give you the hassle of heavy, bugs-leading plug-ins.
Optimise your images. Over the years we have experienced that non-optimised images are the most frequent and severe cause for slow websites. GTmetrix is particularly useful towards this end since it gives a clear overview of the images that needs to be optimised and how.
Check both Google speed test and GTmetrix. These tests will help you have a better understanding of all the reasons rendering your site slow.
The bottom line
Even though Google has not yet implemented his red tag for slow sites in the SERP, from his tests we can tell that a challenge has sparked off. Future slow-sites update? That’s very likely, so get ready to give your site a boost.