YouTube wasn’t ‘Mobile Friendly’ – now it’s ‘Slow to Load’

Author avatar

Stephen Kenwright

Google is testing ‘Slow to Load’ labels in search results on mobile.

Unsurprisingly – because it’s a video site – YouTube is considered ‘Slow to Load’.

YouTube slow to load

Image via Search Engine Land.

Site speed is a ranking factor and has been for a number of years, but it’s likely to be gaining in importance as users’ expectations of a fast load time increase. Even mobile internet (4G and soon 5G) are fast enough that smartphone users are expecting answers almost instantly.

The change that Google is testing – adding a yellow warning label to search results – doesn’t mean that slow websites will rank any worse than they currently do in mobile search results…

…unless of course it successfully puts users off clicking on slow websites in the first place.

Google’s former chief of search quality Udi Manber has suggested that if users consistently click on a result that isn’t ranking first more than the result above it Google will switch those results (confirmed here via Danny Sullivan):

What’s interesting is that most of the changes to mobile results that Google is testing – as well as those that it is announcing to the world like the mobile friendly update – are negatively affecting YouTube. The Google-owned site didn’t receive the ‘Mobile Friendly’ badge for many of its videos – though it didn’t seem to suffer in rankings when the update rolled out on April 21st either – which leaves space for the ‘Slow to Load’ badge instead. As Gaz Shaw suggests, most mobile users aren’t expecting a smooth ride when they click on a video site – unless they’re using Wi-Fi:

I seriously doubt that this will have much of a detrimental effect on YouTube’s traffic.

Smartphone users who want to find YouTube will probably start their search within the app itself, which this won’t affect.

Even so, many will find the fact that Google’s own web properties don’t meet the standards it holds other websites to extremely interesting.


+44 (0) 1225 480 480

20 Manvers Street




+44 (0) 113 260 4010

2nd floor, 2180 Century Way,

Thorpe Park,

Leeds, LS15 8ZB.


+44 (0) 113 260 4010

5th Floor, Cordy House,

91 Curtain Road

London, EC2A 3BS

Part of the St. Ives Group

  • By pressing submit you consent for Edit to contact you via your email or telephone number for purposes relevant to your request for our goods or services. Your contact details, including your name, company, telephone number and email address will be used by Edit. By contacting you are agreeing to Edit’s Privacy Policy. If you have any questions, please ensure you review this section before submitting.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

© 2018 Edit. St Ives Group. Company reg. no. 3624881, All rights reserved. VAT Registered GB 927458295 Privacy Policy | Terms & Conditions | Cookie Policy