TheMadScientist - 6:34 pm on Apr 9, 2010 (gmt 0) [edited by: TheMadScientist at 6:58 pm (utc) on Apr 9, 2010]
Nah, that's a good point, I haven't heard the announcement myself, but I have seen it reported here by some claiming it's in there, so I thought maybe I missed it, and I do remember hearing it would (should) be in there after the first of the year and my first thought would be even if the dependability of speed data is low, I think the 'degree of slowness' necessary to produce a reduced crawl rate could be a strong indication, even on a weak signal, and would take the reduced crawl rate as a fairly good indication there is something definitely wrong with the speed of my site and I would treat it as if it's part of the algo even if I don't have definitive proof at this time, because I do remember hearing it could (should?) be expected after the 1st of the year (or something to that effect), and if I handled the situation as if it were part of the algo, I would, at the very least be providing a much better user experience, and would also have a fairly definitive idea when I got done if it is part of the calculations or not.
Do I think a 1.35 sec average load time compared to 1 sec average load time is probably going to be an issue, nah, but I think where 1 sec to 2.5 sec is the norm and the standard crawl rate is the norm and there's something causing the crawl rate to be reduced and you cannot override it, there's a fairly strong signal in there the site has a speed issue and it might not be a good choice for visitors...
Personally, I'm doubtful if speed will ever be the cause of one site (page) passing another where there's a .5 second load time difference as long as they're both 'within the norm' but I could see it being a much stronger signal of 'lack of quality' where a site is 'definitely below the standard' load time.
So, since site speed is a 'low reliability' indicator in the opinion of many, personally I doubt 'super speed' will catapult a site to the top of the ranking, but do think 'super slow' on a 'niche relative, comparative basis' could tank a site. It's the way I would use speed as an indicator anyway... To me, super fast is cool, but it doesn't mean your site is great, but super slow comparatively would probably give me an strong indication your site is not the correct result.
[edited by: TheMadScientist at 6:58 pm (utc) on Apr 9, 2010]