How much does site speed affect ranking?
The reason that I ask is at one point she was ranking #1 for keyword "hair salons in fargo nd" not sure if it just happened over time or if it was with the o so scary last big google update but her ranking was decreased. I did some on page optimization changes some titles, modified some content, added some additional blog posts/pages to increase total keywords, etc. Each time I made a change her site would jump up in the rankings to position 1 or 2 for a few days sometimes the better part of a week.
So in the midst of all of this I added quite a few images a youtube video etc.etc. Ran a test over at pingdom tools and wow did my page load time get our of hand. It wasn't outrageous in comparison to some competing site but it was up in the 8 second range.
I had previously had been using a w3 total cache with amazon cdn to improve speed which I had to disable to deploy an adaptive mobile layer(not sure if that was a great idea or not). Since I cannot use this plugin and the adaptive layer together I disabled the adaptive layer to rely on my site responsive design. Remove some images/slides and re-enabled the w3 plugin and cdn.
I am now seeing results back in the 1 second/sub 1 second page load range. Is this going to make a big difference seo wise or am I wasting my time?
Also anyone that has a few extra and wants to hit up google with the above keyword and give suggestion on what I need to do on my site to get back to the top it would be much appreciated. The ones that are really making me angry are angies list, yelp, and yp. Those poped up after the recent update and have been a pain ever since. I do have an adowrds ad running on free ad credit from google now.
I think my site design is sound and only really see one site as actual competition which is currently a one spot above mine.
Thanks In Advance