What does it mean when a website is slow?

Google considers a website to be slow when its pages take an excessive amount of time to load and become usable for visitors. Google recognizes the importance of a fast and responsive web experience for users and, as a result, takes website speed into account when ranking web pages in its search results. When Google deems a website slow, it can negatively affect its search engine rankings and overall visibility in search results.

The specific thresholds for what Google considers slow can vary over time, and they may differ for mobile and desktop experiences. Google has introduced various tools and metrics to measure website speed, including Core Web Vitals, which focus on aspects like page loading, interactivity, and visual stability. These metrics provide a more holistic view of a website’s performance and its impact on user experience.

Some common signs of a slow website according to Google include:

High Page Load Times

If a web page takes too long to load, especially on mobile devices, it may be considered slow. Users expect web pages to load quickly, and Google aims to prioritize websites that meet these expectations.

Low Mobile Page Speed Score:

Google provides a Mobile Page Speed Score through tools like Google PageSpeed Insights. A low score indicates that the website may be slow on mobile devices, which can affect mobile search rankings.

Poor Core Web Vitals Scores:

Core Web Vitals metrics like Largest Contentful Paint (LCP), First Input Delay (FID), and Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS) assess loading performance, interactivity, and visual stability. Websites that perform poorly in these areas may be flagged as slow by Google.

What does it mean when a website is slow?
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High Bounce Rate

A slow website often leads to a high bounce rate, as impatient users are more likely to leave the site before it fully loads. A high bounce rate can negatively impact SEO.

Unresponsive Design

Websites that do not adapt well to different screen sizes or devices can be considered slow if they hinder user interactions.

Long Server Response Times

Slow server response times can contribute to a slow website. Google recommends keeping server response times (often measured as Time to First Byte or TTFB) under a certain threshold.

To avoid being labeled as a slow website by Google, it’s essential to prioritize web performance optimization. This includes optimizing images, minimizing code, leveraging browser caching, using Content Delivery Networks (CDNs), and following best practices for web development and design. By improving website speed and adhering to Google’s performance guidelines, you can enhance user experience and maintain or improve your search engine rankings. Check out this guide on how to solve CLS issues and improve your websites overall performance with a super effective WordPress plugin.

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