Gayle asked me, “I would like to know more about speed. What a site owner should and should not do to maximize site speed and what the overall expectation is by search engines, how it effects rankings, and in relation to speed what we must do given the impatient nature of today’s surfer.”
This is an interesting topic of conversation. There are numerous studies showing an effect of loading speed on SEO and rankings, and a couple of comments from Google sources directly that there is an implication.
Exact numbers are not readily available, although there are a lot of speculative numbers being thrown around.
Let's start by putting everyone at ease. Google official blog recently announced:
“While site speed is a new signal, it doesn't carry as much weight as the relevance of a page. Currently, fewer than 1% of search queries are affected by the site speed signal”
In other words, don't stress over website speed too much.
However, website speed has tremendous implications on conversion rates.