I’ve been around the block quite a bit as an SEO specialist, and in my experience website speed has emerged as an increasingly important search engine ranking factor over the last few years. Google, in particular, considers website loading speed to be very important and has made it one of the more important factors in its ranking algorithm.
How does speed affect your rankings? The truth is, as with everything concerning Google, we don’t really know — we cannot isolate that factor alone.
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Source: Smashing Magazine