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Written by Finn Ruijter, 14 January 2020

Chrome is going to flag slow websites

One of the factors Google uses when ranking websites is loading speed. The search engine giant wants to provide users with the best possible experience. Therefore, the Chrome web browser will soon display a warning when loading a slow website.

Soon you’ll know which sites load slowly

Is that website so slow or is it your network connection? Google will answer that question in not too long. How exactly, is not yet clear. Google is still experimenting with ways it will alert Chrome users when a Web site is slower than average. An initial suggestion is the following, where there will be both a notification on the screen and a differently colored status bar:

Chrome slow-websites

Google is also thinking of marking websites that load slowly in the future based on connection speed and network congestion. Thus, a site over your 4G connection can go “unpunished,” while the same site gets the badge of shame over a rural ADSL connection.

What this means for your website

Distributed across mobile devices and desktops, Google Chrome is the most popular web browser: some 60% of Dutch Internet users surf with Chrome. If more than half of all Internet users suddenly get the message that your website is loading slowly, it’s going to have a violent impact on your visitor numbers. Many users will click back even before your site has loaded. And that’s another factor that Google will take into account when determining your ranking.

Clearly, the loading speed of your website demands attention in 2020. Not just to avoid potentially halving visitor numbers, but simply to provide your visitors and as pleasant experience as possible. Therefore, make this an agenda item in the next marketing meeting, because again, standing still is going backwards.

Providing users with a positive experience

Google has been screaming for years what their mission is: to make the Internet a better place. With that in mind, the Chrome browser began flagging “unsafe” websites not long ago. By this, Google means those sites without an SSL security certificate. An SSL certificate encrypts the data users send back to the website, such as when they enter their personal information.

By labeling slow websites, Google seems to be starting a trend, encouraging people to visit websites that guarantee a good user experience. And conversely, Google encourages webmasters to provide that experience.

Is your website too slow?

The question now arises whether your website will be labeled slow by Google. Now the company has not given hard numbers, but we can assume that this feature will be rolled out cautiously and become more stringent over time.

Fortunately, it does not stop at announcing plans. Google recommends that webmasters and web designers read the documentation at https://web.dev./fast, use the optimization tool PageSpeed Insights and then do a performance audit in Lighthouse. If you need help with this, feel free to contact us.