Google Caffeine might already be here. What are you doing to survive?

Apr 22, 2010 | 1,202 views | by Navneet Kaushal
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This is the tone that most of the blogs and discussions in forums have taken. Everyone is anxious about when it will come, what it is and what effect it will have on site rankings, but no one has any concrete information to share.

It's been almost a year since we first heard of Google Caffeine. The long incubation period, unprecedented for any other Google update, has contributed to making Caffeine seem like a mythical monster, which it certainly is not.

Here we will try to demystify Caffeine and discuss concrete measures you need to take to be ready for it.

Why is Google doing it to us?

Caffeine is an update to the Google search algorithm to make it more relevant, more accurate, more empowered to keep the spam sites out and bring new forms of results, such as social media and real time results, in. So, it is intended to be better for both searchers and webmasters. You have nothing to fear unless your business empire is built on spam sites troubling innocent people.

In fact, Matt Cutts had communicated long before that this is more aboutchanging core indexing and infrastructure.

We're not looking to make huge changes in ranking with this new infrastructure. Some rankings will change, but thatÂ’s not the main thrust of the infrastructure.

Google has been very considerate about the effects of its updates after the troublesome Florida Update, back in 2003. This time, rather than going ahead and unleashing it on the world, Google has made
available a preview to both developers and general users to get an idea of possible impact and accordingly tweak it before releasing it internet-wide.

As per the rare official communication in this regard, Google was using Caffeine algorithm in only one of its data centers by December. If Matt Cutts is to be believed, the Caffeine update has already been
implemented. In an interview with Business Week he had said "Caffeine was primarily an infrastructural change. That was a huge undertaking over many months from the crawl and indexing team."

However, there is general agreement on what Caffeine might include and what we can expect to change once it is implemented full scale.

If you are a SEO company or an eager, ahead-of-the-times Webmaster, you should be getting started with a few tweaks to your site. Here is a general outline of what is to be expected:

An outline of the Change We Need

Site load speed:

A search on Google, after Caffeine, is intended to be much faster.
Some developers claim that the new search is doubly faster than the current version. So, how fast your site loads is going to be more important than ever before in deciding how your site ranks.

You should be working on cleaning up the code, optimizing the images, working around flash features and anything else that is adding flab to your site. Make your lean and ready for the update.

Social media and real time Results:

This change is not unique to caffeine, as we have already seen Google working toward including results from Twitter, Facebook and numerous news sites. Definitely, this trend will become more pronounced. Social media has grown beyond anyone's expectations and search engines can't ignore it any longer.

The debate is on about the relevancy of these results but Google has been working toward mixed results for a long time, with experimentation in display. So, rather than fighting or ignoring it, you should be ready for it with your accounts on major social media platforms. It's advised that you should at least fill up the profile pages, if continuous posting seems like a tall order.

Keyword strings:

Keyword occurrence and content have been one of the most important ranking factors and an update is only expected. In addition to the presence of exact keyword term, related words and synonyms will weigh heavier in the new search algorithm. This is aimed at punishing keyword stuffing and bringing to top pages that truly deal with the topics of the search term. So, you need to stop tweaking your content for the robotic spiders and start writing them to be truly informative and helpful.

Domain age and authority:

This is one factor where you can't be expected to do anything. One thing may be, if you have a new domain, have a little more patience and stop trying to speed up the rankings through intensive link
building. In its search for relevancy, Google will consider older domains and authoritative sites as more worthwhile of the user's time. This would also tell you that if you have been trying to promote multiple domains in the same segment and ever launching new sites, you should stop and focus on the older and content rich sites.

Size of Index:

The new algorithm is slated to increase the crawling and indexing rates. It's already evident in the beta version of Caffeine. The competition for top ten is going to be fiercer. You need bring out wholesome improvement in your site and clean up the little details you have been putting off for long.

If you have large site and you can afford it, you should move to a dedicated server.

Rankings tend to rise or fall in unpredictable ways after every update. Same will be the case for Caffeine. But once the change settles, your site will be back to where it was, given that your site is not seriously lacking in any of the above points.

4.thumbnail Google Caffeine might already be here. What are you doing to survive?

Navneet Kaushal

Navneet Kaushal is the founder and CEO of PageTraffic, an SEO Agency in India with offices in Chicago, Mumbai and London. A leading search strategist, Navneet helps clients maintain an edge in search engines and the online media. Navneet's expertise has established PageTraffic as one of the most awarded and successful search marketing agencies.
4.thumbnail Google Caffeine might already be here. What are you doing to survive?
4.thumbnail Google Caffeine might already be here. What are you doing to survive?