The speed criteria has been rumored for months though, and now that it's been confirmed, it's one more factor to consider when building your website. The reason? Users love fast sites, and fast sites have a higher engagement that slow sites.
Google measures the speed two different ways:
- How a page responds to Googlebot
- The load time as measured by the Google Toolbar
All that being said, relevance is still the number one factor for site ranking. What is relevance? The site name, metadata, and text copy of the site all match in relevancy to a search. For instance, if the site name is "jeffbecktributeband.com" but the site really tries to sell you insurance, there's not much relevancy there and it will be penalized. Even if the jeffbecktributeband.com site is trying to sell you tickets to Jeff Beck shows, it's still not about a JB tribute band, so even though it's more relevant, it's still not to relevant to someone who's searching for a Jeff Beck tribute band.
So make sure all of your graphic files are small (30 to 50k is about right), and keep any video hosted through YouTube so it all loads fast. Google's too smart for even the smart SEO guys, so play by the rules and don't try to game the system.
Check out my Big Picture blog for discussion on common music, engineering and production tips and tricks.