Google Analytics Site Speed Metrics Expanded

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Google announced the launch of some new metrics for the Site Speed report in Google Analytics.

The metrics are aimed at giving webmaster a better understanding of how they can improve their website performance. Speed, we know, is a ranking signal for Google, so this is probably one worth paying attention to.

That said, Google’s Matt Cutts did kind of downplay the impact speed actually has on rankings. It’s a signal, but it’s certainly not the loudest. Still, it’s good for the user experience, and we know Google likes that. Of course, it’s always good to have a good user experience no matter what is impact from Google is.

In the “technical” section in each of the site speed tabs (Explorer, Performance and Map Overlay), there is new set of metrics.

GA Reports

“The Technical section of the Explorer and Map Overlay tabs provides details on the network and server metrics,” the company explains on the Google Analytics blog. “Similarly, the additional sections of the Performance tab shows summaries for each of these metrics. These network and server metrics are one component of Avg. Page Load Time; the other component is browser time, i.e., the browser overhead for parsing and executing the JavaScript, rendering the page and other overheads such as fetching additional resources (scripts/stylesheets/images).”

The site speed report also displays: avg. redirection time, avg. domain lookup time, avg. server connection time, avg. server response time, and avg. page download time.

“If you notice that some of the metrics are higher than expected, review your site operations and test if changes lead to improvements,” Google says. “For example, if you notice that Avg. Domain Lookup Time is high, you might want to change your DNS provider. A high Server Connection Time, on the other hand, is a metric that you might not be able to reduce.”

“To most significantly increase your website’s speed, evaluate your Site Speed report for metrics that have the largest values and target those for improvement,” Google adds.

For example, for a high average redirection time, you might evaluate whether redirects are even necessary. Google suggests also checking to see if a specific referrer is causing high redirect latency. For high average domain lookup time, you might change DNS providers. For high average server response time, you might reduce your backend processing time or place a server closer to users. For high average page load times, reduce your initial data size.

Chris Crum
Chris Crum has been a part of the WebProNews team and the iEntry Network of B2B Publications since 2003. Follow Chris on Twitter, on StumbleUpon, on Pinterest and/or on Google: +Chris Crum.