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Google has announced it plans to warn users of its Chrome browser about slow sites using a method called “badging”.

The idea is to provide a sign letting users know when a site typically loads slowly before they ever click a link to that site or while the site loads. Google sees this as a way to “reward” fast sites, saying:

“We think the web can do better and want to help users understand when a site may load slowly, while rewarding sites delivering fast experiences.”

For example, Google published one concept for what a slow speed badge could look like while a site is loading:

In this case, it is likely that the badge could increase abandonment rates for slow sites.

The company is also talking about using contextual menus that preview links and would include similar badges indicating a site is fast.

Another idea includes subtly changing the color of loading bars to indicate whether a site is fast:

As the company explained in its announcement:

“Our early explorations will look at a number of Chrome surfaces, including the loading screen (splash screen), loading progress bar and context-menu for links. The latter could enable insight into typical site speeds so you’re aware before you navigate.“

The web browser admits this idea is in the early stages, and may considerably change before they determine “which provides the most value to our users.”

Additionally, the company says they plan to expand the badges to include a number of metrics aside from speed:

“Our long-term goal is to define badging for high-quality experiences, which may include signals beyond just speed.”

GoDaddy is one of the most popular hosting providers for small businesses, but it appears the hosting service may also be making changes to sites on its platform which could significantly slow or break sites entirely.

The service is injecting a piece of JavaScript code as part of its Real User Metrics (RUM) technology, which allows the service to track and measure the performance of websites. However, none of this information is provided to the sites on GoDaddy’s service in the form of analytics but is instead used solely by the company to improve systems and server configurations.

With this in mind, it is hard to see any benefit to continue allowing GoDaddy to install code for RUM on your site.

All US GoDaddy customers agree to opt-in to using RUM as part of the terms of service and the company does little to inform you of how it uses the technology. In a help document, the company also concedes it may have a negative impact on websites:

“Most customers won’t experience issues when opted-in to RUM, but the javascript used may cause issues including slower site performance, or a broken/inoperable website.

If you’re using Google’s AMP, you have pages ending with multiple ending tags, or your site performance is slower, you may want to opt-out of RUM.”

Considering how important site speed is to both search engines and actual consumers, it is highly likely RUM could be costing you traffic AND conversions.

Thankfully it is easy to opt-out of the RUM service if GoDaddy is your hosting provider. Just follow these steps:

  • Access your cPanel hosting account by going logging in to your cPanel and clicking on your hosting account.
  • Click the three-dot menu button, and then click “Help us.”
  • Click “Opt out.”

Once this is done, the code will be immediately removed from your site.

After months of warnings, Google is officially rolling out its “Speed Update” for all users.

Google updated its original blog post to say the new ranking factor would be rolling out for all mobile search results throughout the day – though it is unclear exactly how long the Speed Update will take to fully go into effect.

What is Google’s Speed Update?

Essentially, Google’s Speed Update is just a mobile version of the speed-based algorithm used on desktop search results for years. Rather than rewarding the fastest sites, the update is better described as punishing the slowest sites online. This is particularly important for mobile-based search results because numerous studies have shown that people are likely to leave a webpage if it takes more than 3 seconds to load.

What this isn’t, is a large-scale algorithm shift. The majority of sites are likely to see little to no change after the roll-out. However, it is unclear just how harshly it will penalize the slowest sites out there.

Will you be affected?

Google refuses to give an exact estimate of just how many sites will be affected by the rollout, but they have said it will “only affect a small percentage of queries.”

Still, if your business’s website is notoriously slow, you may be at risk for a loss in search ranking and traffic. If you’re afraid you may be on the chopping block, you can see how your site stacks up using a number of Google’s tools, such as the Chrome User Experience report, the Lighthouse tool, or the Page Insights tool.

As always, it is recommended that you take steps to make your website as fast as possible. This can be done a number of ways, including reducing image file sizes, finding faster hosting, or reducing the number of widgets or the amount of content on a single page. Even if your site is safe from the Speed Update, you don’t want to risk losing potential customers while they wait for your page to load.

How long does your website take to load? If it takes more than three seconds, you’re likely losing more than half of your visitors.

It is no secret that everyone wants everything as fast as possible. That is especially true on the web. The faster your page loads, the more people will stick around and the happier they will be with their experience.

What you might not know, is that your site speed can directly affect your conversions and sales.

Data from Kissmetrics shows that up to 79% of customers who aren’t satisfied with your site’s performance say they are less likely to buy from the same site again. Taking that a step further, many first-time customers may leave before they ever get a chance to see what you have to offer in the first place.

Web Development agency Skilled collected 12 case studies from real businesses in an infographic showing just how powerful page load time really is. If you’ve ever doubted the importance of keeping your site optimized to be as fast as possible, you’ll likely be a believer after seeing these:

Page Speed

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Google’s Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) are starting to appear in organic search results, after months of only appearing in the ‘top stories’ carousel.

What is Google AMP?

As the internet becomes increasingly mobile, Google has made site speed a top priority within its search results. Part of their effort to speed up the web has included the launch of its Accelerated Mobile Pages technology, which allows publishers to create pages using a stripped down version of HTML and JavaScript that emphasizes site speed.

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Other platforms including Twitter and Facebook have launched their own versions of Accelerated Mobile Pages with their own unique features and structure.

The coding framework allows Google to pre-load numerous assets with the goal of allowing publishers to deliver content extraordinarily quickly without sacrificing style or ad revenue.

What Does This Mean For You?

In the past, Google only showed a small fraction of the 600 million AMP documents published online within the limited ‘top stories’ carousel at the top of search results. Now, all AMP pages have a chance to appear in search engine results pages (SERPs) as organic search results.

By default, Google will display AMP versions of pages in mobile search results when available.

While AMP pages do not automatically rank better than other results, they are likely to provide strong competition in SERPs. AMP pages are not a direct search ranking signal, but page speed is. Considering AMP pages take less than one second to load on average, it is likely that high-quality AMP pages could dominate mobile results in the near future.

How to Get Started Using Google AMP

If you want to start using Accelerated Mobile Pages to deliver your content to mobile visitors, you have a few options. You can manually publish two separate versions of your content – one with your standard website code, and one using Google’s streamlined version of HTML.

Or, you can use a number of plug-ins to automatically create and publish AMP versions of your content when you publish your normal version. With the WordPress AMP plugin from Automattic, you can immediately publish AMP pages with a single click. You don’t have to spend any time stressing or maintaining duplicate versions of your pages or digging into code to start publishing lightning-fast content to mobile searchers.