Site Speed

Interpret Site Speed

This article covers the metrics available in the Site Speed reports, and what you can learn from them:

  • Where to find the different groups of metrics
  • Metric definitions
  • How technical metrics relate to one another
  • Insights you can draw from the data and responses you can make based on those insights

Where to find the metrics, and what they mean

Page Timings report > Explorer & Map Overlay tabs > Site Usage subtab

  • Avg Page Load Time: The average amount of time (in seconds) it takes that page to load, from initiation of the pageview (e.g., click on a page link) to load completion in the browser.

    Avg. Page Load Time consists of two components: 1) network and server time, and 2) browser time. The Technical section of the Explorer tab provides details about the network and server metrics. The remaining time is the browser overhead for parsing and executing the JavaScript and rendering the page.
  • Pageviews: The number of times the page was viewed during the selected date range.
  • Page Load Sample: The number of pageviews that were sampled to calculate the average page-load time.
  • Bounce Rate: The percentage of views of a page where that page was the only one viewed in a session.
  • % Exit: The percentage of views of a page where that page was the last page in a session.
  • Page Value: The average value of the page or set of pages. Page Value = ((Transaction Revenue + Total Goal Value) / Unique Pageviews for the page or set of pages).

Page Timings report > Explorer & Map Overlay tabs > Technical subtab

  • Pageviews: The number of times the page was viewed during the selected date range.
  • Avg Page Load Time: The average amount of time (in seconds) it takes that page to load, from initiation of the pageview (e.g., click on a page link) to load completion in the browser.

    Avg. Page Load Time consists of two components: 1) network and server time, and 2) browser time. The Technical section of the Explorer tab provides details about the network and server metrics. The remaining time is the browser overhead for parsing and executing the JavaScript and rendering the page.
  • Avg. Redirection Time: The time spent in redirection before fetching the page. If there are no redirects, the value for this metric is expected to be 0.
  • Avg. Domain Lookup Time: The average amount of time spent in DNS lookup for the page
  • Avg. Server Connection Time: The time needed for the user to connect to your server
  • Avg. Server Response Time: The time for your server to respond to a user request, including the network time from the user’s location to your server
  • Avg. Page Download Time: The time to download your page

You can see the relationship between these metrics in the following diagram:

Page Timings report > Explorer & Map Overlay tabs > DOM Timings subtab

  • Pageviews: The number of times the page was viewed during the selected date range.
  • Avg. Document Interactive Time: The average time (in seconds) that the browser takes to parse the document (DOMInteractive), including the network time from the user's location to your server. At this time, the user can interact with the Document Object Model even though it is not fully loaded.
  • Avg. Document Content Loaded Time: The average time (in seconds) that the browser takes to parse the document and execute deferred and parser-inserted scripts (DOMContentLoaded), including the network time from the user's location to your server. Parsing of the document is finished, the Document Object Model is ready, but referenced style sheets, images, and subframes may not be finished loading. This event is often the starting point for javascript framework execution, e.g., JQuery's onready() callback, etc.
  • Avg Page Load Time: The average amount of time (in seconds) it takes that page to load, from initiation of the pageview (e.g., click on a page link) to load completion in the browser.

    Avg. Page Load Time consists of two components: 1) network and server time, and 2) browser time. The Technical section of the Explorer tab provides details about the network and server metrics. The remaining time is the browser overhead for parsing and executing the JavaScript and rendering the page.

Learn more about the Navigation Timing API, and these specific timing attributes.

If these metrics sometimes indicate longer page-load times than you otherwise observe, it is due to the number of samples taken over the date range you are using.

User Timings report > Explorer & Map Overlay tabs

You see the following metrics by Timing Category, Timing Variable, or Timing Label (all of which you defined in your timing code).

  • Avg. User Timing: The average time (in seconds) it takes for the timed code to execute.
  • User Timing Sample: The number of samples taken.

Page Timings & User Timings reports > Distribution tab

This tab provides timing buckets so you can determine whether the bulk of your pages/resources loaded/executed within acceptable limits. To get the speed detail for a specific page or resource, you can drill down into the item in the Explorer tab, and then click the Distribution tab to see the distribution of load/execution times.

In speed analysis, the average doesn't always provide an accurate accounting because a few outliers can skew that value. Being able to see the distribution of values provides a more accurate picture.

Insights and responses

You can use the Page Timings report to measure where load times for your pages are having a critical impact. For example, you might learn that the target audience for your site is located in a geographic area where the Internet connection speed is generally slower than what is optimal for your pages. Or you might learn that the load times for your pages vary widely in different browsers. With these insights, you can take steps to improve your site performance in a very targeted way. For example:

  • For pages that show high load times in certain browsers, you can investigate browser issues, and deliver pages more streamlined for those browsers.
  • If key geographic regions or ISPs are showing high load times, you can deliver alternate pages more suitable to lower bandwidth.
  • If your landing pages show poor speeds, you can focus on improving the ones that have the most pageviews.
  • If average load time is too high, you can determine the significance of the load time issue by exploring the spread across Page Load Time Buckets.

When you consider in which areas to increase speed, target the slowest speed metrics first (the ones with large values for load times). For example, if you have:

  • High Avg. Redirection Time: Analyze whether the redirects are necessary. Also check sources to see if a specific referrer is causing high redirect latency.
  • High Avg. Domain Lookup Time: Consider changing to a DNS provider that provides consistent and lower response times.
  • High Avg. Server Response Time: Reduce backend processing time or place a server closer to users.
  • High Avg. Page Download Time: Reduce your initial data size.