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comScore Puts Page-Load Time Under Microscope

Page load time, a do-or-die website-performance issue 10 years ago, is still enough of a concern today that Google is now under pressure to introduce a ranking factor into its algorithm to account for how fast a site or page loads, Search Engine Land reports.

The issue particularly resonates with web publishers that hope to benchmark their site performance and measure how they stack up against their competitors, writes comScore's Michael Brown.

comScore Upgrades Software

To this end, comScore has introduced a new capability for measuring page-load data. A software upgrade now enables the web-metrics company to record each time a web page fully loads and the amount of time that action takes to complete, down to the millisecond.

The ability to monitor page-load data will help comScore perform a variety of new analyses that can yield actionable insights for clients, Brown said.

"For example, we are able to review how page load times relate to important factors such as repeat visitation to a site, search usage, and even E-commerce conversion metrics," he added.

Brown also noted that comScore recently analyzed how page-load times affect consumer activity at four domestic airline sites. The company compared two airline sites that were using a page load optimization solution - Akamai Dynamic Site Acceleration - to two sites that were not. Page load times were substantially shorter at the two airline sites that used the Akamai accelerator.

Google Considers Changing Algorithm

Google as well is likely to place page-load performance higher in the list of criteria for its ever-changing algorithms. Speaking for Google at the PubCon conference, Matt Cutts said page-load performance is already a factor in the search ad AdWords quality score and there is now a strong push to make it a factor in the organic ranking algorithm.

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