If you're running a website which tends towards the slow side, you might want to start thinking about doing something about it sooner rather than later - Google has announced that it's going to start taking site speed into account in search results.

The search giant said in a blog post: "Speeding up websites is important — not just to site owners, but to all Internet users. Faster sites create happy users and we've seen in our internal studies that when a site responds slowly, visitors spend less time there". The company also made the point that improving site speeds also reduces operating costs.

However, before you start panicking, it won't have a massive effect. Google says that it won't cause more relevant slow pages to be rated below less relevant but faster ones. "Currently, fewer than 1% of search queries are affected by the site speed signal in our implementation and the signal for site speed only applies for visitors searching in English on Google.com at this point", said the company.