Last year there was a lot of confirmed talk from Google that in the new year, page loading speed would become a ranking factor. This is something already taken into consideration on the PPC side (quality score is affected by landing page load times) so it’s not surprising to see that it’s coming on the organic side too.
Earlier this week, it was announced – it’s here. In fact, on some data centers, the new ranking factor has been in place for several weeks. Now it’s across the board. So if you’re seeing your rankings slip, it may be time to take a good hard look at your site and see where it’s slow.
Don’t forget that Google Webmaster Tools has a feature that will tell you how fast your pages are loading and where there is room for improvement. Don’t ignore this – when Google itself tells you where your pages can be improved, Google itself is telling you how YOU can rank better.