Internet service providers have to offer more bandwidth and websites have to provide us with instant page loads. Gone are the days where you sit and watch as the page is loading, people just won't stand for it anymore.
For some time now Google has been using page load time in its page rank algorithm. Page load speed was introduced to the Google algorithm with the rollout of Google's Caffeine release. What this means is that for similar sites, the site that loads faster is going to be ranked higher.
Page load speed is not the only or even the primary factor, but it is a factor. The winner here is the internet user who is provided with a better and more efficient searching experience. Who likes visiting a site and then having to wait till some flash movie loads?
Google has the technology that measures your page load time. This is done in two ways. The first is how fast your site responds to Googlebot, which is the program that crawls websites for indexing. The second is actually your page loading time versus your competitor's page loading time.
Google offers a tool in their webmaster tools that you can use to analyze your sites speed. A page speed report was added to Webmasters Tools in the "Labs" section. The report shows how fast your site loads, specifically calls out several pages on your site, and offers suggestions to improve the page speed. If you haven't started your Google Webmaster account, be sure to get started right away. Google will identify for you pages that are loading slowly and will compare your site speed with competitive sites.
If any of your pages are ranked as slow then you will want to take the time with to make the necessary design and structural changes to strip down your code and images to speed up your site's loading time. A goal is to have your pages load in less than a second. This change will improve your search rankings and improve the user's search experience.
There are many steps you should take to speed up the loading time of your website. Optimizing your website images is very important. Making your images smaller without changing the dimensions is easy enough to do if you have Adobe Photoshop or Macromedia Fireworks.