Friday afternoon Google announced that page and site speed is now a ranking factor. Yes, we knew this was coming for months now and Google gave us tools to prepare for this, but how much of an impact does it play in the overall ranking algorithm at Google? Very little!
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 our implementation and the signal for site speed only applies for visitors searching in English on Google.com at this point. We launched this change a few weeks back after rigorous testing. If you haven't seen much change to your site rankings, then this site speed change possibly did not impact your site.
Yes, less than 1% of the search queries are impacted. That is pretty minor. You can always read what Matt Cutts said or what Search Engine Land said. But this is often missed and people misconstrue things.
A Google Webmaster Help thread already has one webmaster who blames his hosting company for a downgrade in rankings. He said that because his website was down for 40 hours, it impacted his site speed ranking. Um, if your site is down for 40 plus hours, Google may remove you for a bit for other reasons.
I am sure more and more webmasters and SEOs will bring up site speed issues as a ranking issue in Google. Yes, having a fast site is important but you need a really really slow site to impact your Google rankings.