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"Time spent download a page" doesn't match since 4/21

9:06 pm on May 5, 2015 (gmt 0)

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I've looked everywhere for answers to this but haven't been able to find an answer.

In Webmaster Tools, we started to see an increase in "Time spent downloading a page (in milliseconds)" starting roughly around April 21st,

Link to chart image [dl.dropboxusercontent.com...]

Now, I was always under the impression that this graph represented server response times (how long it took to download all page HTML), and by that metric, it's always correlated fairly closely to our internal data about this. The valley you see dominating the latter half of the graph is around 52 milliseconds, which closely matches our internal #s for that same time period.

Now the increase towards the end does NOT match our internal numbers. We have not seen any increase in server response time, and we haven't made changes to the site that would warrant it. Has anyone else seen anything similar? Could it be that Gbot is baking in other stuff into this metric now? It's fairly poorly documented.

I also checked Google Analytics to see if it had any corresponding increase over this time, but it doesn't:

Link to chart image [dl.dropboxusercontent.com...]

So what I'm wondering is:

1. What does the metric "Time spent downloading a page (in milliseconds)" represent exactly, and is this documented anywhere?

2. Has this changed since April 21, 2015?

3. Is there anywhere else I could look for the cause of this behavior, knowing that our internal logs show that Googlebot response times have stayed low?

[edited by: goodroi at 12:59 pm (utc) on May 6, 2015]
[edit reason] Added explantion to links [/edit]

12:24 pm on May 6, 2015 (gmt 0)

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WebmasterWorld Senior Member aristotle is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

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Maybe what you see is related to the mobile algo rollout which also began on April 21. I think there is a mobile version of Googlebot which might have a different crawling pattern or different behavior than the regular Googlebot. The "time spent downloading a page" could be an average over all pages. If the longer pages are crawled more often, then the average will increase.
5:22 pm on May 8, 2015 (gmt 0)

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The dates certainly match up...