In a post on Google's official webmaster central blog last Friday, Google Fellow Amit Singhal and Matt Cutts announced that:
today we're including a new signal in our search ranking algorithms: site speedSo, amongst the other 'signals' (e.g. page 'relevance') that Google uses for its PageRank algorthym, it now takes the speed of the site into consideration. However site speed is a new signal and currently doesn't carry as much weight as others and currently fewer than 1% of search queries are affected by the site speed signal.
The data to produce this signal is collected and aggregated (into a global average) from Google's toolbar, a common plug-in to most popular browsers.
So, where does that leave your site?
Well, as I mentioned in my previous post, this could have a significant impact for slow performing sites, with more effort having to be spent on SEO and other marketing initiatives.
So surely this now ushers in the age of the website performance optimisation specialist?