Since the beginning of last year, Google Analytics has been pushing a faster load time by pushing the new asynchronous tracking code to being the default code. Matt Cutts also commented on how the new Google Analytics code is slightly better in terms of search (watch video on the bottom of this article).
But now, with the addition of Site Speed to Google Analytics*, we will be able to understand how load times affect not only search ranking (or ppc quality score), but also how it affects user experience and ultimately, the conversion rates of specific pages and the site as a whole.
The big value of these new metrics is that it enables us to correlate page success and load times.
This is especially important when it comes to landing page optimization, but also when optimizing pages with and without rich media, pages that query a database before loading, and others.
According to this article* in the Google Analytics help section:
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 release follows two very important launches last month: Google Analytics v5 and the Multi-Channel Funnels. It shows that with the new and improved version of Google Analytics, the development team there has opened new horizons when it comes to adding new features at a very fast pace.
*Note: In order to view Site Speed Reports, your Google Analytics tracking code will need a slight modification; the Google Analytics Help article (referenced above) provides instructions on adding this tracking to your website.