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In Google Analytics Essential Training, Corey Koberg shows how to use the Google web analytics platform to generate and evaluate information about the visitors to a web site, including data on site traffic, user behavior, and marketing effectiveness. This course covers the out-of-the-box functionality, from account creation to reporting fundamentals, and explains how to glean insights from the vast array of data available.
The Site Speed report measures the page load time or latency for a sample of visits and shows us the average page load time for visits that were sampled, along with the total number of page views, the number of page views Google sampled to give us that average load time, bounce rate and exit rate for each page. With this report you can see which pages loaded the fastest and which ones loaded the slowest. Going to this report here, under Standard Reporting, in the Content section here in the Site Speed report, one of the things that we can do is sort by this first column here. This is going to show us the pages which loaded the slowest or had the longest load time.
Another way to look at this is through the Comparison view here. We can do the Comparison view. I like to extend my number of rows here, and I can look down this list and quickly get an idea of which pages are performing well and which pages are very concerning to me that I might want to look at first. With this type of data, it makes easy for us to hit the pages that are poor performing first. We certainly want to look at those and see what we can do to improve the load time for those pages since the load time can affect both user experience and potentially even your SEO, if it's bad enough. Now once we have spent the time improving those pages, we want to come back to this report.
We can use the Compare to past feature up here in the Date Range selector. That way we can see if the improved page-load time has also lead to things like improved bounce rate, exit rates, or even our organic traffic. Where this report gets even more helpful is if we look at some of the other dimensions here. We could use something like Landing Page or any other dimensions available in this list. Landing pages are a first impression for our visitors, so a slow page load time could have an impact on our bounce rate or just their overall impression of the site.
But we can use this report from more than just content; if instead we set our dimension here to something like Operating System, now we can start to get some insights on how our site performs on desktop platforms versus some of our mobile and tablet platforms. If we select this back to the non- comparison view in our regular Data format and sort this by Average Page Load Time, we can see here that the worst performer is our Android operating system, which usually indicates a mobile platform such as a phone or a tablet.
Since this is only affecting less than 1% of our page views, so might not be a big deal, but mobile traffic is increasingly important, so it might be another piece of evidence to suggest that we need a more mobile-friendly site. Like so much of our analysis, this is not to tell you what to do, but simply inform your decisions with the right data so you can make the right choice. So that's part one of Site Speed report, but there are two other tabs up here that can show us some different data. The Performance tab allows us to see sampled page views grouped by varying levels of average page-load time.
So now we can see how much of our traffic is having problems with load time. In the case of this site, it looks like most of the site is doing well enough, but there's about 10% of these sample visits that's of page-load times of 13 seconds and more, which is definitely a problem. Now some of this might because the user was on a slower connection such as a mobile connection, but this data at least lets us know how big of a problem site speed is for our users. Even five seconds can seem like a long time and deter some users who were looking for quick information. Our third tab up here is the Map Overlay.
Here we can see Average Page Load Time and other metrics by country, city, continent, or subcontinent region. And this is important, since the geographic distance and network congestion can actually impact certain parts of the world and not others. So it may look like your page loads fine in certain places, but other certain parts may be impacted much more severely. In this particular case, we don't see anything too terribly insightful in this. Let's switch to another profile and see if we can see something a little bit more drastic. Here we see a different story.
In North America, we don't seem to see I have too much of a problem here. Page Load Times are relatively quickly, but we do see some spots in Europe as well as Asia that are having more significant problems that we'll probably want to investigate. Page-load time might not be the number one issue for your site, but these reports can help you better understand how much of your traffic is having a problem with this, where you are having the biggest problems, so that you can take action and deliver a better, faster user experience to your visitors.
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