Google has recently introduced new tools to help webmasters measure page load speed for their websites. Their Page Speed tool (http://code.google.com/speed/page-speed/docs/using.html) analyzes web pages and measures the page’s score against a series of best practices for web performance, ranked by relevance and priority for that page. The scores are developed using a method that weighs a number of different factors, including difficulty of implementation, the “potential impact” of the fix (according to Google’s experience, that is) and how badly the page violates the best practice.
Google’s search maven Matt Cutts confirmed in an interview at a search engine marketing industry event last week that driving improvements in page speed is high on Google’s agenda. Although Google has not historically used page speed as a ranking signal in their algorithm, Cutts said that ” a lot of people at Google feel that the web should be fast”, and that the feeling at Google is that if your site provides a good user experience and loads quickly, “maybe you should get a bonus”. Larry Page is on record as saying that the web should be as fast as flipping through a magazine, and that a faster web is good for Google’s business.
The speculation is that Google will soon use page load speed as a direct factor of their ranking algorithm.