Page Load speed just became a lot more important - Google announced recently that it will use page speed in its SERP rankings. Here is a quote that will make the SEO and marketing folks knock on sysadmin doors:
We encourage you to start looking at your site’s speed (the tools above provide a great starting point) — not only to improve your ranking in search engines, but also to improve everyone’s experience on the Internet.
The post lists a number of tools everyone should be using already, such as YSlow, google’s own PageSpeed, online speed waterfall diagram tool and webmaster tools. Webmaster tools recently added a beta feature which provides data about your sites speed relative to other sites on the internet.
Here is a sample report:
Performance overview On average, pages in your site take 6.3 seconds to load (updated on Apr 11, 2010). This is slower than 83% of sites. These estimates are of medium accuracy (between 100 and 1000 data points). The chart below shows how your site’s average page load time has changed over the last few months. For your reference, it also shows the 20th percentile value across all sites, separating slow and fast load times.
Linus System admin blog will have a series on page speed improvement. Stay tuned!