Google Analytics Gets New Site Speed Report, User Timings

Chris CrumSearchNews

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Google announced today that it has added a new site speed report to Google Analytics, called User Timings. The report lets users track custom timings, and shows the execution speed or load time of any hit, event or user interaction.

"This can include measuring how quickly specific images and/or resources load, how long it takes for your site to respond to specific button clicks, timings for AJAX actions before and after onLoad event, etc. User timings will not alter your pageview count, hence, makes it the preferred method for tracking a variety of timings for actions in your site," explains Google's Analytics team in a blog post.

"To collect User Timings data, you'll need to add JavaScript timing code to the interactions you want to track using the new _trackTiming API included in ga.js (version 5.2.6+) for reporting custom timings," Google adds. "This API allows you to track timings of visitor actions that don't correspond directly to pageviews (like Event Tracking). User timings are defined using a set of Categories, Variables, and optional Labels for better organization. You can create various categories and track several timings for each of these categories. Please refer to the developers guide for more details about the _trackTiming API."

Users can check the report under the content section, by clicking "User Timings". From there, you can select "Explorer," "Performance" or "Map Overlay" for different views.

Google announced the actual Site Speed reports last month, including the Site Speed Overview. Now, you can get even more insight into how your pages are performing.

Google has said flat out that speed is a ranking factor in Google, though Google's Matt Cutts kind of downplayed how often it really makes a huge difference. So, kind of a mixed message, though from the user experience standpoint, you'll certainly want your pages performing well. Nobody wants to stick around on a slow site.

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.