Archived Post for reference: Google Caffeine
October 18, 2010
Buzz is all around about Google’s upcoming algorithm update, which has been given the nickname “Caffeine”. Caffeine has been in the works for several months and is expected to be released this month. Matt Cutts, a Google engineer and Quality Control Team Leader, describes the update as the most fundamental and largest change to the Google system since the update in 2005 that involved Big Daddy.
This all brings up concerns and questions about what the introduction of Caffeine will mean for search engine optimization efforts, and when algorithms change, there are going to be changes in rankings too. Search engine optimization is pretty concrete when it comes to the search results pages- there will always be ten listings that will show up in the top ten slots. One site’s loss is another site’s gain, so it is essential that you understand the elements of the new Google algorithm game to make sure that you benefit from the changes.
We’ve been given a preview of what Caffeine entails, although most of the specifics are still foggy. People want to know what it is, how link building fits into it, how it will affect search results, and what they can do to get ready for the launch. The new algorithm focuses on speed and more specific targeting. The jist of it is to provide fewer search results that are served up quicker. Google is overhauling its indexing system to make it crawl faster and index more efficiently too, and we know that fresh content will finally play a bigger role in search engine optimization. Old, lax material and content will be pretty easy to push to the back of the line, and so far explorations into Caffeine have shown an average reduction in result sets of 30-70%.
Search engine optimization still plays the same important role with the new Caffeine algorithm pitch, and now in order for links to be super effective they have to be aimed towards pages on websites that will load quickly, those that are efficient in coding, those that feature a high percentage of target relevant content and those pages that facilitate a flat crawl structure, so to speak. If you have a website that has dozens of pages that are full of redundant or fluffy content, chances are pretty good that you won’t fare real well with Caffeine.
So what will the role of links be, then? They are still the main differentiator that will make a dent in rankings for you once there is initial traction in the search engine results. Caffeine isn’t targeted to changing the criteria of links and other off-page factors, unlike some of the algorithm changes in the past. The on-page factors of websites are the variables that will most come into play now.
The introduction of Caffeine is certainly a big change for Google, and most likely everyone will see fluctuation in organic search rankings that will be driven by how compliant your site is to the new algorithm factors vs. how compliant your competitors are. The best way to prepare is to understand why rankings change in the first few weeks of the launch, and to ensure that your responses to those changes are effective ones that will benefit your SEO campaign. Auditing your website for Caffeine optimization and redefining your own SEO campaign will be important, and you may want to speak with a specialist about any questions you might have about changing factors and emphasis to go right along with the new flow.