Google announced a few months ago that Webpage load speed now has a small bearing on ranking in relation to SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages) i.e. it is better to have faster loading Pages. There was quite a vocal reaction to this news by various Webmasters and Web designers. Google, Bing and Yahoo have always maintained that the best Search Engine Optimization (SEO) activities are those that enhance the Site for visitors. The speed at which a Webpage loads is vitally important to Web-surfers. People don’t like to wait for Pages to load and are likely to visit an alternate and faster Site when experiencing slow Page load speeds.
As noted previously, and blogged by Matt Cutts, the influence on SERPs of speed is very small. The move to highlight the need to reduce page load speeds wherever possible should be welcomed by the average Web surfer who wants a better Online experience. Designers and Webmasters too should not fear the minuscule focus on speed as if they are good in their roles they will already be ensuring that image sizes aren’t unnecessarily large, video is compresses, caching is enabled where appropriate etc. Minor Website amendments can result in significant speed gains so it is worth spending time consulting with tools such as Yahoo YSlow and Google Page Speed
Page load speed has been part of Google’s competitive advantage since its inception. Web page load speed can also be a competitive advantage for your Site.