Google Adds Site Speed to Analytics Reporting

Google recently expanded its Analytics report functionality to include a Site Speed report, measuring page load time for a sample of pageviews on any website. The report outputs metrics on average page load time, pageviews, page load sample, bounce rate and exit rate.

The Site Speed report measures the page load time (latency) for a sample of pageviews on your website pages. It appears in the Content section of the Analytics reports. With this report, you can see which pages load the fastest and which ones are slower. You can also analyze your overall site speed along other important dimensions in order to learn how your site speed relates to a variety of factors. For example, you can view your site speed across the following categories:

  • Content—which landing pages are slowest?
  • Traffic sources—which campaigns correspond to faster page loads overall?
  • Visitor—how does latency compare by visitor type or geographic region?
  • Technology—does browser, operating system or screen resolution impact latency metrics?

Finally—and most importantly—you can take action to improve page load speed for slower pages and then track latency along these other dimensions to see if your actions resulted in desired improvements.

This re-affirms that Google is taking website loading speed into account for site rankings, as visitors increasingly expect faster load times and no longer have the patience to wait 20, or even 10 seconds for a web page to load.  Businesses large and small are devoting more attention to page speed than ever before and are increasingly targeting latency (loading speed) with better tracking.

While Google’s newest Analytics offering may seem intimidating at first, we encourage you to learn more about setting up Google’s code on your site or give us a call to see how we can help.

How to Use the Site Speed Report

Once you have Site Speed tracking set up and working, you are ready to use the reports. This section covers both report basics as well as other insights you might find useful.

The Basics

The default view of the Site Speed report shows Pages (your website pages) as the primary dimension. It lists your pages in order from those with the highest latency to those with the lowest. In this view, you get the following metrics in the report table:

  • Avg Page Load Time—the average amount of time (in seconds) it takes that page to load, from initiation of the pageview (e.g. click on a page link) to load completion in the browser.
  • Pageviews—The actual number of times the page was viewed for the selected date range.
  • Page Load Sample—The actual number of pageviews that were sampled to calculate the average page load time.
  • Bounce Rate—As for Pages report, the percentage of views to this page in which this page was the only one viewed for the session.
  • % Exit—As for the Pages report, the percentage of views to this page in which this page was the last page in the session.

The default view of this report provides controls that you can use to change the tabular data. For example, you can choose a secondary dimension—such as browser—along with the Pages dimension to get an idea of how a particular page’s latency ranks by browser. You can select a variety of other primary dimensions for this report as well. To the right of the View control at the top of the table, try selecting Browsers when you want to look at your overall site latency by particular browsers.

Useful Insights and Actions

You can use this report to measure where latency for your pages seems most critical. For example, you might learn that the target audience of your site is located in a geographic region where the Internet connection speed is generally slower than is optimal for some of your pages. Or, you might learn that some browsers report higher latency for certain pages on your site. With these insights, you can take steps to improve your site performance in a very targeted way. For example:

  • For popular pages, consider tracking changes in pageviews, bounce rate, and exit rate after improving load time.
  • For pages indicating a high latency for certain browsers, you can investigate browser issues, and deliver a page more streamlined for that browser.
  • If key geographic regions or ISPs are showing a high latency, you can deliver alternate pages more suitable to lower bandwidth reception.
  • If your landing pages show a poor latency, you can choose to focus on improving those that have the most pageviews.

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