SEO followers have been hearing about Google's plan to use the speed of a website as part of its page ranking algorithm since late last year. This was finally admitted by Google today in their official blog post. The blog post claims that this new factor does not carry as much weight as the relevance of the page. It further says that fewer than 1% of search queries are affected by the site speed code. This new factor also affects only English-based searches so far.
Google added a Google Site Performance tool at its webmaster toolset. It analyzes your web site and provides data on the average load time, graphs out how the site has improved or slowed down over time. It also offers suggestions on how to speed up your site.
But does this whole thing actually make sense? To me, the relevance doesn't really seem to be related to site speed. Big companies can afford to get lots of bandwidth. But does that make their sites more relevant than the thorough research of some student in some small university?