Google is obsessive. About pretty much everything.
It's one quality that makes their products the best in the world. But it can also hurt you if you're not staying up to date on your Search Engine Optimization strategies.
Last year, Google announced they are now using the time it takes your website to load as a factor in how your website ranks in the searches! They even developed a tool to measure your site's speed. Here's Google's take on why your website's speed matters:
Google's goal is to provide users with the most relevant results and a great user experience. Fast sites increase user satisfaction and improve the overall quality of the web (especially for those users with slow internet connections)...
What this means to you is, if you have a lot of flash, rotating images, background noise, or un-optimized code on your website, you're being penalized by Google!
Here's a screen shot of SmartBox's website Site Speed results:
We highly suggest checking your Webmaster Tools (including Site Speed) regularly.
Google's Webmaster Tools offers tons of critical information such as the search queries your prospects are searching for, errors within your website, crawl rate, and much much more.
You can see if you're being penalized for having a sluggish website by going into your Webmaster Tools > Labs > Site Performance.