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Chrome May Warn Users of Slow Pages Before They Click

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Google Chrome announced a plan to introduce badging as a way to encourage publishers to improve site speed. Google proposed a contextual menu on links that will tell users, before they click, that a site is slow. The goal is to reward fast sites.

Reward for Fast Sites?

According to Google, the purpose of the badging is to “reward” fast sites and to warn users of slow sites as a way to provide value to them.

Google does not say how a badge translates as a reward.

Google published an example of what the slow speed badge could look like:

chrome slow speed badge

Will the slow speed badge inserted between a user and a slow loading web page increase abandonment rates? Is causing users to abandon slow pages for faster pages what Google means by rewarding fast web pages?

What is the Goal of Badging?

Google’s announcement stated that the intent of the badging was to reward fast sites.

This is what Google announced about the reward:

“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.”

This is an example of a possible form of positive feedback that a fast loading site might receive.

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Chrome Fast Download Speed Badge

This is an example of a badge that Chrome MIGHT add to indicate that a site is fast loading.

It’s a subtle badge. Users might not even notice the “reward” badge, what do you think?

Objectively, the green bar hardly qualifies as a reward. So what does Google mean when they say they want to reward fast sites?

Context Menu On Links

Google suggested using a “context menu” on links. That sounds like a reference to the links in the organic search results.

The announcement is ambiguous as to whether that’s a contextual menu on all links or just on Google’s search results. In my opinion it sounds like a reference to Google’s search results.

This is what Google said:

“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.

Google says they want to warn users which sites are slow before they click a link. A warning about a slow site experience before a user clicks through may cause users to abandon the click and opt for the faster loading site.  Is that the reward that Google is alluding to?

Chrome Speed Badge is a Work in Progress

Google said that the proposal for the speed badging is still being worked out.

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According to Google:

“This may take a number of forms and we plan to experiment with different options, to determine which provides the most value to our users.”

Badging Will Expand Beyond Speed

Google plans to incorporate other performance badges beyond speed. Google didn’t give examples of what these other metrics were.

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

Takeaways

Google’s announcement puts publishers on notice that page speed just became even more important. Google intends to reward fast web pages, possibly at the expense of slow pages. The specifics of how Chrome will do it are yet to be determined.

Page speed has always been important. From the earliest days of the Internet it was known that faster pages converted at higher rates. A fast loading site is important regardless of anything Google does.

In the near future slow loading pages may experience increasing pressure to survive, like the small fish trying to outrace the bigger fish that’s about to eat them.

Read Google’s official announcement here: Moving towards a faster web

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NEWS

Google December Product Reviews Update Affects More Than English Language Sites? via @sejournal, @martinibuster

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Google’s Product Reviews update was announced to be rolling out to the English language. No mention was made as to if or when it would roll out to other languages. Mueller answered a question as to whether it is rolling out to other languages.

Google December 2021 Product Reviews Update

On December 1, 2021, Google announced on Twitter that a Product Review update would be rolling out that would focus on English language web pages.

The focus of the update was for improving the quality of reviews shown in Google search, specifically targeting review sites.

A Googler tweeted a description of the kinds of sites that would be targeted for demotion in the search rankings:

“Mainly relevant to sites that post articles reviewing products.

Think of sites like “best TVs under $200″.com.

Goal is to improve the quality and usefulness of reviews we show users.”

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Google also published a blog post with more guidance on the product review update that introduced two new best practices that Google’s algorithm would be looking for.

The first best practice was a requirement of evidence that a product was actually handled and reviewed.

The second best practice was to provide links to more than one place that a user could purchase the product.

The Twitter announcement stated that it was rolling out to English language websites. The blog post did not mention what languages it was rolling out to nor did the blog post specify that the product review update was limited to the English language.

Google’s Mueller Thinking About Product Reviews Update

Screenshot of Google's John Mueller trying to recall if December Product Review Update affects more than the English language

Screenshot of Google's John Mueller trying to recall if December Product Review Update affects more than the English language

Product Review Update Targets More Languages?

The person asking the question was rightly under the impression that the product review update only affected English language search results.

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But he asserted that he was seeing search volatility in the German language that appears to be related to Google’s December 2021 Product Review Update.

This is his question:

“I was seeing some movements in German search as well.

So I was wondering if there could also be an effect on websites in other languages by this product reviews update… because we had lots of movement and volatility in the last weeks.

…My question is, is it possible that the product reviews update affects other sites as well?”

John Mueller answered:

“I don’t know… like other languages?

My assumption was this was global and and across all languages.

But I don’t know what we announced in the blog post specifically.

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But usually we try to push the engineering team to make a decision on that so that we can document it properly in the blog post.

I don’t know if that happened with the product reviews update. I don’t recall the complete blog post.

But it’s… from my point of view it seems like something that we could be doing in multiple languages and wouldn’t be tied to English.

And even if it were English initially, it feels like something that is relevant across the board, and we should try to find ways to roll that out to other languages over time as well.

So I’m not particularly surprised that you see changes in Germany.

But I also don’t know what we actually announced with regards to the locations and languages that are involved.”

Does Product Reviews Update Affect More Languages?

While the tweeted announcement specified that the product reviews update was limited to the English language the official blog post did not mention any such limitations.

Google’s John Mueller offered his opinion that the product reviews update is something that Google could do in multiple languages.

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One must wonder if the tweet was meant to communicate that the update was rolling out first in English and subsequently to other languages.

It’s unclear if the product reviews update was rolled out globally to more languages. Hopefully Google will clarify this soon.

Citations

Google Blog Post About Product Reviews Update

Product reviews update and your site

Google’s New Product Reviews Guidelines

Write high quality product reviews

John Mueller Discusses If Product Reviews Update Is Global

Watch Mueller answer the question at the 14:00 Minute Mark

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