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What Does the Google “Slow” Label Represent?

It’s without debate that a user’s experience with your ecommerce site (or any website or application) will affect their decision to buy from or even return to the site, but a recent Google+ post that’s been making waves implies that the choice may no longer be up to them.

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A screenshot posted last week by user K Neeraj Kayastha shows a Google “slow” label next to certain Google search results on mobile, apparently warning users of a poor site experience before they even visit the page.

Back in 2010, Google announced that it was including page speed as a ranking factor in its search algorithms, but the addition of this new label is like a glaring red warning saying “don’t use my site!” Because Google search sees about 67.5% of search traffic, this is a big deal, and those that rely on organic SEO traffic need to be prepared. (via comscore)

When Benjamin Franklin coined the phrase “time is money,” I doubt he ever expected it to be used in terms of this little thing called the Internet — and with website latency dictating ecommerce revenue, he’d have been perplexed. It’s so true though – a Gartner study of Microsoft found that with every 100 millisecond decrease in latency came a revenue increase of 0.6%. Doesn’t sound like a lot, but with a multi-billion dollar company, I’ll let you do the math. Reality is, when 100 milliseconds can be recouped through smart technology decisions, you do it, regardless of your revenue scale. User experience matters for brand loyalty, reputation and customer retention, sometimes more than just dollars and cents.

It looks like Google was just caught testing out this feature for now, but it’s experiments like this that emphasize just how critical performance is to all applications, sites, and the people who frequent them. It’s even more compelling that this label was rolled out on the mobile browser, a reminder of just how large a role mobile is going to play in the years to come. From a global Internet and mobile adoption standpoint the time to act is now. The growth is staggering.

Indeed, a Dyn survey of more than 1400 consumers across 11 countries in North America, EMEA, and Asia Pacific indicated that more than 85% of consumers expect the same quality and speed of performance when shopping on mobile devices as they do when shopping online. Do you agree?

This Google “slow” label may be pushing users to avoid your site, but, in reality, consumers are becoming so savvy they may not even need Google to let them know. They know instinctively what a slow website is. That is why the ability to monitor and control your Internet Performance from end user perspectives is so critical. When users don’t get the performance they need, they leave.

An Akamai study showed that 40% of users abandon sites that take more than 3 seconds to load, and our own survey added that up to half of users expect websites to load instantly.

Web performance has become a priority for top web properties, but if you don’t have visibility into your online infrastructure how can you expect to be able to optimize it? This is a question we’re trying to help all brands answer as Internet traffic soars.

That’s where Dyn Internet Intelligence comes in. We help you monitor your infrastructure to see problems before they affect your end-users, helping you deliver that seamless experience we all sites strive for. Then website operators can use Dyn’s Traffic Director to optimize the traffic flows for reliability, availability, speed and performance. We promise, Google will like you more and maybe someday even have a Google “fast” label.

We want your feedback: In our digital and social age, the consumer has tremendous power. We’ve kicked around the idea of a “Dyn Internet Performance Score” or an “Approved by Dyn” type browser plugin idea for user experience awareness, market education, and industry leadership. Imagine a tool for end users to keep their providers, sites and apps honest to optimal web experience. Think of it like what SSL did for consumer confidence with the lock in the browser or seeing “https”. Would be sick, but also need mass penetration and may require major browsers to lead this charge. I’m surprised Google doesn’t do this in Chrome. Let us know your thoughts at kyle@dyn.com or on Twitter @kyork20.


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Kyle York
Whois: Kyle York

Kyle York is GM & VP, Business & Product Strategy, and has been a long-time executive, having joined in 2008. Over the years, he has held go-to-market leadership roles in worldwide sales, marketing, and services. In his current role, Kyle focuses on overall corporate strategy, including: positioning and evangelism, new market entry, strategic alliances and partnerships, M&A, and business development. Outside of Oracle Dyn, Kyle is an angel investor, entrepreneur, and advisor in several startups.