Nov 7, 2011 115 reads by Navneet Kaushal

Google really likes to shake things up. The search engine has now updated its Caffeine algorithm to show more recent search results when time centric events and information are searched, like developing news stories and product reviews.

What Has Google Done?
Google announced that they want search results to be fresher, and are hence putting a new search algorithm change in action. Now, not only will the results be fresher, the results will change for about 35% of all searches.
In its perusal of fresher and more relevant results, Google came up eith the caffeine index last year. Earlier this index was used to ensure that Google indexes and returns faster results. But now this algorithm has been tweaked to show even more fresh results.

As Google says, “We completed our Caffeine web indexing system last year, which allows us to crawl and index the web for fresh content quickly on an enormous scale. Building upon the momentum from Caffeine, today we’re making a significant improvement to our ranking algorithm that impacts roughly 35 percent of searches and better determines when to give you more up-to-date relevant results for these varying degrees of freshness.”

Move Over Panda, Caffeine Is Here- 35% Searches Are Impacted
This update is much larger than the Panda which had an impact on 12% searches only. This time the numbers are a huge 35%.
Here are the searches that will be impacted by this update. We are quoting Google here:

  • Recent events or hot topics: For recent events or hot topics that begin trending on the web, you want to find the latest information immediately. Now when you search for current events like [occupy oakland protest], or for the latest news about the [nba lockout], you’ll see more high-quality pages that might only be minutes old.

Google Search Algorithm Favors Freshness

  • Regularly recurring events: Some events take place on a regularly recurring basis, such as annual conferences like [ICALP] or an event like the [presidential election]. Without specifying with your keywords, it’s implied that you expect to see the most recent event, and not one from 50 years ago. There are also things that recur more frequently, so now when you’re searching for the latest [NFL scores], [dancing with the stars] results or [exxon earnings], you’ll see the latest information.
  • Frequent updates: There are also searches for information that changes often, but isn’t really a hot topic or a recurring event. For example, if you’re researching the [best slr cameras], or you’re in the market for a new car and want [subaru impreza reviews], you probably want the most up to date information.”

Google has further stated that with this algorithmic update it is now providing fresh content for double the number of queries as before. So now freshness will make Google notice you easily, your chances are much more now as one out of three searches are impacted.

The Downside- Fresh Spam Anyone?
This update and the announcement by Google has given way to many speculations.

  • How will Google define what is a fresh content?
  • The same content posted a week later on a new page is fresh?
  • A new page is fresh? Or a new modification is fresh?

Google may now be exposed to news spamming now as sites will publish and re publish the same stories to ‘keep fresh.’

Google says they Know How to Determine ‘Freshness’:
Google says that they will use a mixture of ranking factors to judge the page. So, apart from freshness, the content of the result, its topicality and quality will also be judged. Google has also said that one way to determine freshness is the time when they first crawled a page. In other words, tweaking a page already indexed will not make it fresh.

What About the Realtime Fresh- Twitter?
Tweets are the most updated content on the web. Now, since the Google and Twitter fallout, Google has been without real time access to tweets. With this caffeine update Google has rolled a ranking change, and still cannot crawl Twitter rapidly enough to keep up with the data Twitter generates. While tweets are out of the scene for now, Google says that they will show results of the latest blog or a news that is being shared on the web within minutes of the page being indexed.

The Takeaway:
While Google is giving out a figure of 35% impact, it does not necessarily mean for the good. Remember the Panda? The12% results it impacted were not the improved ones. The same may stand true for the caffeine update too.

What do you think of Google’s move? Are these updates coming too close after one another? Do share your view.

Navneet Kaushal

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.
Navneet Kaushal
Navneet Kaushal
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