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The Google Webmaster Central Blog today announced that Google has added a site speed factor to their web search ranking algorithm which effectively another ranking factor that webmasters have to look out for.
The information are – as always – rare at this point. According to the blog post the feature was enabled a few weeks back. It is currently only enabled on and only for English queries on that search engine.
First results show (according to Google) that less than 1% of all search queries are affected by the site speed signal that the Google engineers have added to the algorithm.

Less than 1% might not sound like much but this actually means that about 1 out of every 100 queries are affected by the algorithm change.
The blog post contains links to the usual tools that can help webmasters evaluate their site’s performance. They include Page Speed, YSlow and Web Pagetest among others.
The change leaves many questions unanswered.
  • How does this affect sites with lots of contents or large elements like photo hosting sites, gaming sites or sites with external scripts (advertisements for instance).
  • How do webmasters know if their site’s ranking has dropped because of their site’s speed?
  • What are acceptable values for site performance? The sub 5 second load time as is suggested in the Webmaster Tools Site Performance graph?
What’s your opinion on the matter? Do you think this is a good change? I for one do not like it one bit.

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