It looks as though load time will be taken into account as a ranking factor in the next few months.
Slow page loads, eg content that buffers as your hosting company struggles to serve the pages, bloated code and so on, could all now affect your ranking in the search engines.
It has taken a long time for this to actually be mooted as “close to implementation” but it is a really obvious ranking factor. Users do not want pages served up as top results that take a long time to load. They want instant gratification.
This should come as a heads up to many. Website designers who do not strip unnecessary items out of code or who program inefficiently; hosting companies who do not have enough bandwidth available for their customers; traffic analysts who fail to equate high bounce rates with slow pages and advise their clients accordingly; and others.
Take a long hard look at your site. Try it on different connections, not just the fat pipe in your office – don’t try to be an imaginary user, go and be a real one. Visit the library or cybercafe and see how long your site takes to load. You could even consider digging out that old dial up modem and see how it works for all those who still live in a non-broadband world.