Est. Reading Time: 4 minutes
Benefits of a Faster Site
A Short Back Story
The Downsides to Synchronous Loading
The Need For Speed
It used to be that the best practice on website design was small images and lean, clean website pages on a fast server so that they loaded quickly over dialup, on slower computers. Much of this ideal fell by the wayside in the past ten years as code for sites became more robust and had better features, but came at a cost:
All of the reasons listed above can penalize your search engine rankings on Google, and even how often Google or other search engines bother to index your site. This article isn’t about poor website design or substandard hosting (that’s for another time) but with all of these ways that you can hurt your site, adding to it by continuing to use Google’s traditional script only compounds the problem.
Faster is better, and Google has for some time now factored how fast your site loads into its ranking algorithm.
Because of this renewed importance of page load speed for Google they realized that these large load time libraries were counterproductive to the internet and their own goal to reward speed in search engine rankings.
During 2009 they developed an AJAX, or asynchronous, script that would become the Google Analytics Queue object, or _gaq. This object is used to asynchronously load the Google Analytics library in the background, AJAX-style.
This switch frees up your pages to finish loading, loading faster, queue up events or commands to execute after the library loads, and better push events on your page into Google Analytics. You have the ability to push all of the traditional metrics you might use into Google Analytics asynchronously, plus it is now easier to create virtual events or pages and push data into GA for later use.
I would suggest as good reading an excellent reminder article about page speed and user experience from Jakob Nielsen, one of the foremost authorities on User Interface Design and User Experience. Switch to the asynchronous script, and keep your site lean. It will benefit your users, and your rankings.