Google Analytics Page Speed Now Available

I’ve mentioned recently about the importance of web page speed as a factor in search engine ranking. Such measurement was considered under the premise of user experience. Google wants the process of information search fairly quick, and search engine users would probably choose fast loading sites over the slower ones. In addition, slower loading pages also influence Google AdWords landing page quality.

Surely, as website owners and not just SEO people, we like to measure this metric and evaluate if our website is loading as fast as it should be. Otherwise, we may need to review our coding practice, or have a word with out web hosting provider.

There are many tools available online that allow us to do such measurement, including Google Webmaster Tools. There are also tools to help improve loading speed.

Good thing is that Google Analytics, through its blog entry, announced that it is now integrating the page speed metric into its reports, which in my opinion is a little different from the Site Speed label it currently uses.

ga-page-speed

For Google Analytics current users, simply add a line into the existing tracking code:

_gaq.push(['_trackPageLoadTime']);

Additional instruction can be found here.

The benefits of this code extends beyond SEOs. To usability consultants or information architects, this tool helps them identify which pages are slowest and may be subject to revision in code and layout. To marketers, page speed data helps them associate success in campaigns with how fast a certain landing page loads. To webmasters, it becomes easier to distinguish if a page loading time is satisfactory in certain countries and check whether browsers, mobile versions of the site, screen resolution or operating systems influence page loading.

gwt-chart

But then we ask, how fast is our definition of fast loading web page? The data shown above illustrates the typical loading time but we can’t tell if it’s fast or slow until we see some comparisons. So I believe the reports provided by Google Webmaster tools — although it measures only the average time across all pages within the site — is still relevant and should used as additional source of information.