There has been a lot of hype in the SEO world surrounding Google’s new Caffeine search algorithm update. In all fairness, every time Google makes a chance, heads turn. It’s not a surprise that “how will this affect my rankings?” is the first question to pop into most webmasters heads the moment an algorithm change is announced by Google. Google’s primary metric, PageRank, is incomprehensibly complex and leaves a lot of webmasters entirely in the dark. A quick peek at the Wikipedia page, where some very smart people tried to reverse-engineer the algorithm, illustrates it deeply: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PageRank
Google’s most recent update, Caffeine, which is rumored to be in roll-out phases right now, adds several additional layers of entanglement to the algorithm. First, it is rumored that the algorithm now takes into account both the age of a website (how long it has been online) and how quickly the website loads. This is in-line with Google’s mission of improving the overall user experience by recommending websites that load faster and have been around for a while.
What changes has Caffeine brought to the SEO game? Well, with articles on Mashable and Wikipedia being some of the sources of my information two key changes to the SEO game are that:
- Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Caffeine increases the speed at which search results are generated by half. For example, a query that would bring 51 million results on the old algorithm would take .25 seconds, under the new algorithm it only takes 0.12 seconds. That’s blazing fast and will surely be appreciated by Google’s users.
- Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Blended search results: Google will now include information from a variety of areas including images, news, press releases, etc. alongside traditional website results. Another improvement over the previous system.
So, despite of all these changes I think we can all agree that Google does provide the best search results, and at least part of their quality is attributed to their secrecy and their methodology in ranking sites. They stir things up regularly, but this often serves to boost an ailing business as it may dampen the success of a growing one. However, these changes amount to nothing short of a nightmare for many webmasters, SingleHop’s dedicated server business included.Â Anyone who has ever seen a Google search results heat-map (http://tiny.cc/dc2px)Â knows how important it is to be ranked well for your primary keywords. Unfortunately, because of the heavy proliferation of search engine optimization, and frequent changes to the way Google measures a sites rank, it is almost impossible to predict what position you will be in. The problem is further exasperated by Google’s secrecy, which, is for good reason. If everyone knew how it worked and exactly what it looked at, it would be easy to manipulate the results. Despite this fact, many good webmasters with good intentions are regularly penalized by Google’s algorithm, especially those who rely on being well ranked for their livelihood and have no other channels for business.
In part two of Google Caffeine, I will go into some of the things that webmasters can do to take advantage of Google’s recent changes.