Using the New Analytics SEO Browser Page Load Speed Tools
With more Web Page Load Speed tools in the newly updated AnalyticsSEO dashboard you now have no excuse for having a perpetually slow website.
When you use this browser page load speed data together with site speed info from Google Analytics and Webmaster Tools, plus plenty of other available free tools, you’ll have plenty of resources to find out why your website page load times are so slow and how to make it faster.
In this article we’ll briefly discuss why site load speed matters and then explore a number of Site Speed Performance Tools you can use to improve site performance.
Why Page Load Speed is a Top Priority for SEO
Looking at the web page load speed numbers over the past several years should provide enough motivation to make you want to make your website faster. For example, consider what just half a second costs leading global brands:
- AMAZON – for every 100ms increase in load time sales decreased by 1%.
- GOOGLE – an extra 500 ms in loading time results in a 20% drop in traffic.
- YAHOO! – a 400 ms slower page would see 5 to 9% more people leave before the page finished loading.
If these numbers aren’t enough motivation then take a look at this Ranking Factors study, which found that page load speed is considerably more important in 2014 than it was in 2013:
Notice the orange line showing Site Speed of top ranking sites in 2013 and how much lower the blue line is for top ranking sites in 2014! In 2013 the top ranked site was around 1.1 second and in 2014 it dropped to 0.75 seconds.
There are plenty of other presentations about site speed on Slideshare with similar info, including this one here.
AnalyticsSEO Site Speed Tools
Now that you have a better understanding of how crucial page load speed is to your rankings, traffic, conversions and sales, here are three areas in AnalyticsSEO to investigate your website speed times.
Web Page Speed Tool
The first place is Page Speed located in the Technical section.
“We test your home page speed and compare it to your competitors. Having a fast loading website is essential to satisfy users and it is also something search engines take into account when ranking sites.”
There are three different ways to conceptualize site speed in this section, which are all great resources to use when addressing site speed with clients:
1. Home page speed comparison.
- Points out just how much slower your website is than its best competitor, or gives you a reason to pat yourself on the back for being the fastest!
2. History of your page load times.
Get rid of competitors on the line graph and look at just your website’s speed over time. Do you see a lot of fluctuations in page load times? This could be indicative of server or hosting issues that could be hurting your rankings. It also means that visitors have inconsistent user experience – some days the website is fast and other days the website is slow!
3. Your page load times compared to your competitors over time.
Next, compare your page load time to the competitors you are tracking within the account. Are their page load times more stable?
Crawl Health Tool (NEW!)
In the new AnalyticsSEO dashboard you can see the server request and response time on individual pages for providing a browser with an HTML document. What pages are slowing down your website? Sort your list of pages by the slowest loading pages and find ways to make these faster. Keep in mind that this speed does not include downloading external resources such as images or preloading videos.
Page Load Time in Competitor Audit
The Competitive Audit (under Market Analysis) compares your website to your top competitors for a number of fundamental SEO factors. Each metric is checked on a daily basis and it can be helpful to see how Page Load fits into the mix. How fast is the top ranked website? How much slower is the lowest ranked website? Are you trying to figure out why a competitor is ranking better than you? Is the main difference page speed? This holistic look at SEO can give you a better understanding of performance.
Additional Site Speed Tools
If you are seeing any red flags when it comes to page load speed there are a number of additional tools you can use to dig deeper.
1. Google Analytics
Take a look in Google Analytics at Site speed, located under Behaviour in the side bar.
What is your average page load time?
2. What pages are the slowest to load?
3. What is the PageSpeed score for each page and what suggestions does Google make for each page?
2. Webmaster Tools
Take a look in Webmaster Tools under Crawl Stats and compare Pages Crawled to site speed. Remember that the faster your website pages load, the easier and quicker it is for Search Engines to crawl your page, making it more likely that more of your pages will be crawled. After making site speed improvements we often see trends like the one below.
3. Free Site Speed Tools
Use other Site Speed Tools to get even more details on what is slowing down your page load times:
- tools.pingdom.com – identify where bottlenecks occur and see how your website compares to all websites ever tested.
- Webpagetest.org – see page load time for the first view and repeat view as well as the number of requested bytes required to fully load your web page.
- Google’s Pagespeed Insights – see your page speed score out of 100 as well as a number of Google’s suggestions on how to make your website load faster.
Remember that Google’s entire mantra is about providing a good search experience and that a fast website contributes to a good user experience. People are becoming increasingly impatient and intolerant of slow websites. As Internet speeds and technology improves, website visitors have decreasing patience for waiting for your site pages to load.
Site Speed Optimization should be a key component of your overall SEO strategy. In my experience and in all the research I’ve done, focusing on website speed can have huge payoffs when it comes to rankings, Search Visibility, traffic, user engagement, leads and sales. The best part is that improving page load speed times doesn’t require as much effort as you may think considering the payoff, especially compared to other tedious SEO tasks such as growing natural backlinks or optimizing thousands of product descriptions.
Now isn’t this the best kind of work you can do?