We sounded the alarm over a year ago about Google’s inclusion of website page-load speed as a (so far) fairly minor factor in its SERP ranking calculations. And recently we learn that it’s also being used to help determine Adwords page quality, which of course directly impacts your costs. So it’s time we all realize that Google is in relentless pursuit of a faster Internet, and we may as well get on board… because we’ll all be better off, and also because resistance is futile; and anyway, Google “does no evil”, right?!
No doubt some of you have begun to plan taking steps to address your website’s speed; and if so, you’ve probably run into roadblock #1, which is getting an accurate handle on its current speed. After all, you can only detect how it responds in your specific region, with your specific computer, and – unless you’re more thorough than most – with one or two browsers.
To the rescue
Posting on Search Engine Journal, Rob Young notes that Google Analytics now includes a page-load “speedometer.” The site speed tracker looks at all the info related to the load speed of your pages. It will show you which pages are loading most quickly, which browsers don’t respond well, which geographic regions are having trouble, and more.
To try it out, just follow these steps:
- Enable to the latest Google Analytics; this lets you check out features that are not yet in the standard release.
- Enable the time tracking features (dubbed “Site Speed” in the interface; they’re turned off by default).
- Install the new Google Analytics code that is provided for you.
Thus armed with accurate, in-depth information, you’ll be able to construct a plan to go after your load-speed issues in some rough order of likely payback. And, you’ll be able to sleep better knowing that you’re making Google very happy …oh yeah, and your website’s users, too. (For more on this new feature, check out the post introducing it on the Google Analytics blog.)