Can You Trust Google’s New Site Performance Reports? Google Says, Maybe Not.
Over at the Search Engine Roundtable I reported that Google said they will be adding a “trustworthy” indicator to the new site performance report in Google Webmaster Tools. The reason behind adding this is because of the complaints and questions coming in from webmasters on the accuracy of such reports. As I explained, a Google […]
Over at the Search Engine Roundtable I reported that Google said they will be adding a “trustworthy” indicator to the new site performance report in Google Webmaster Tools. The reason behind adding this is because of the complaints and questions coming in from webmasters on the accuracy of such reports.
As I explained, a Google replied to some of these concerns in a Google thread, saying:
The 83s number is bogus. Your site’s toolbar traffic dropped by more than an order of magnitude in the last few days. You should ignore the average for now. We’ll soon be showing site owners some indication of how trustworthy the numbers are, so you can decide when to ignore it and when not to.
Not all URLs may have toolbar traffic, so it’s possible to have many URLs indexed, and even visited by users, but only a couple may show up on Site Performance. In addition, when there’s very little data for a given URL, we won’t display it (for privacy reasons), though it will be included in the overall site average.
This shows us two things:
(1) The site performance report really depends on the Google Toolbar for measuring page speed.
(2) Google knows that some of the results for some pages are not accurate and they are looking for a better way to communicate that to webmasters.
I should note that this tool is currently in the “labs” section of Google Webmaster Tools and thus a beta product, that is expected to have bugs and deficiencies. I did however ask Google for more details about this specific topic and they have yet to get back to me.
Postscript: John Mueller from Google sent me a note about this:
The Webmaster Tools team is constantly working on ways to improve the product as well as the data provided there. In general, we prefer not to comment on possible future releases. The Labs section in Webmaster Tools allows us to easily try out and iterate on new and innovative features, which is one reason we launched the Site Performance tool there. Personally, I found the data provided there quite actionable and have seen a lot of positive feedback from webmasters around this tool. To fine-tune a website with regards to speed, it can be useful to start with the information provided here and then to look into the details using browser-based tools such as Page Speed and Speed Tracer.
We’re always looking into ways we can take our products and services to the next level. We appreciate all of the feedback and coverage that you provide! I’ll get in touch with you once I have more information that I can share.
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