Don’t Slow Your Website Down To Increase Time on Website For Google SEO

I spotted Google’s John Mueller laughing at a LinkedIn post that is telling SEOs to slow down webpage load time so that people spend more time on your page. The advice says that Google uses time on website as a ranking factor, which Google had denied countless times, and says to improve time on website, you should slow down your site.

This post was a joke – I didn’t get the joke: It turns out, he was posting it as a joke, a meme – but honestly, not everyone took it that way. He posts a lot of SEO memes and this was one of them.

The “SEO Tip” posted on LinkedIn reads, “If your website loads too fast… Consider slowing it down. Why? Users will have to wait longer for your pages to load… Time on Website (ToW) is a Google ranking factor. The longer users are on your website the higher you will rank.”

I spotted this via here:


— John has updated his unnamed profile name #stapler (@JohnMu) August 29, 2023

Now, at first I thought the LinkedIn post was a joke but then I dove into the actual post on LinkedIn and read through many of the comments and I became super sad to see what was going on there. But maybe it was a joke?


— Liam (@liam_fallen) August 29, 2023

Google has said countless times that time spent on a page is not a ranking factor. Google has said for years and years that it does not use behavioral factors for ranking, outside of any of the page experience system metrics. This has been the overwhelmingly consistent messaging from Google for over a decade, as recent as 2021, 2020 but 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020. Google said bounce rates are not good signals, in 2008 Google said it is a noisy signal and also in 2008 said click data is not used for rankings. This is a myth Google said but then you have people at Google misspeaking causing more confusion.

Google has said for years that page speed is a ranking factor, most recently with core web vital metrics.

So this SEO is telling other SEOs to slow down a page to increase time spent on a page, which Google says is not a ranking factor when we know Google has said page speed is a confirmed ranking signal.

This is not the first time SEOs used a strategy to hurt their website visitors to try to improve rankings.

Be careful with the advice you read online.

Forum discussion at Twitter.

Update: This was a joke, as I noted above, and I, as well as many others, fell for it…

IMO it’s bad taste, gives the SEO community a worse reputation for giving bad advice & trolling, and adds lasting damage to those (like you, Lyndon) who try to help site owners honestly & consistently. I doubt he’s doing that on purpose, but it’s out there.

— John has updated his unnamed profile name #stapler (@JohnMu) August 29, 2023

Why has nobody mentioned this is a series of posts I’ve been doing alongside my other content?

— Liam (@liam_fallen) August 29, 2023

It just comes across as someone pushing unsuspecting people onto the road, following up “it’s a prank, bro!” Maybe that’s not the intention, but it’s definitely not a “here’s a photo of John in a tutu saying make great content” meme.

— John has updated his unnamed profile name #stapler (@JohnMu) August 29, 2023

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