[Update 12/5/2011] Thanks to Roy (see comments) for reminding me to follow up with this post - as of two weeks ago, the Site Speed report is available by default in the new (v5) version of Google Analytics. No code snippets or special settings are necessary to view the report - just log in and take a look!
I’m excited about the new Google Analytics interface, and not just because it is faster and looks shiny.
The latest significant feature to be announced is the Site Speed Report (officially announced Wednesday), which gives us the ability to track page load time for every page on a website, and then analyze load speed in great detail.
Why Track Page Load Speed?
First of all, having a fast website can improve rankings, so improving slow pages can have an impact on your organic success. Site speed is an increasingly important ranking factor as Google continues to improve search results with websites that are more useful and user-friendly.
Second, page load speed metrics (in sweet detailed, decimal form) can also be used to improve conversion rates and usability.
Here are questions that Site Speed Reports will help you answer:
- Of your top 10 highest converting landing pages, which takes the most time to load?
- Is a certain browser or device experiencing page load problems?
- What is the relationship between your slowest or fastest loading pages and high or low bounce rates?
- What pages take the most time to load?
- Is a certain country or region experiencing speeds that are out of the norm?
How to Turn on Site Speed Reports to Track Page Load Speed with Google Analytics:
Here is an example in context (default asynchronous snippet):
var _gaq = _gaq || ;
ga.src = ('https:' == document.location.protocol ? 'https://ssl' : 'http://www') + '.google-analytics.com/ga.js';
var s = document.getElementsByTagName('script'); s.parentNode.insertBefore(ga, s);
For more implementation instructions, or if you’re using a different snippet version than the example above, go ahead and refer to Google’s official Site Speed implementation guidelines.
Here are some more examples of the new Site Speed report in the wild. Go implement it on your site and have fun!