Google states site speed is now one of their search ranking factors.

The rumours have been going around for a while. Mainly stemmed from Google's activities such as adding a site performance tool to their Google Search Console . Google denied speed affected search ranking until now...

On April 9th it was announced that site speed will effect search ranking , closely followed by a blog from Matt Cutts (Head of Google's Webspam Team) with his thoughts.

Don't panic, It is only one of over 200 factors Google takes into account when determining search results and they state that currently fewer than 1% of searches will be affected.

Even so, website designers should start taking speed more seriously. Don't give your visitors poor experience by making them wait. Time is money, and people will move on if they are not getting what they want, when they want it.