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December 6, 2009

Google Caffeine And The New Ranking Factors

Google Caffeine is the name given to Google’s “Next Generation” search engine, which it will use to rank and index all the pages on the wonderful world wide web. According to all indications, this is not just another one of Google’s infamous Updates, but a major “Overhaul” of its index and algorithm – the complex formula and calculations Google uses to rank all web pages, including yours.

If that doesn’t sound ominous enough, according to Matt Cutts (Google Spokesperson) one database is already showing Google Caffeine, and the full blown version will be released after the holidays. The reasoning behind this – Google doesn’t want to upset webmasters and site owners during the lucrative holiday buying season. In the past, other major Google Updates have come around this time of the year, most notably the “Florida Update”
which severely affected many web sites and webmasters.

Recently, Google has been more aware and much more generous to webmasters by being more open and forthcoming in regards to how it indexes its pages. This time around, webmasters were even given access to a beta version of Caffeine which Google released last summer (’09) where webmasters could check to see how well their keywords and site would fare in this new search index. This beta site (www2.sandbox.google.com) has now been taken down by Google.

Like any professional search engine marketer who works online, I was constantly checking my sites and keywords in Google’s new search engine. I have drawn some conclusions from what I have observed, but please be aware it is often very foolish to draw conclusions and make predictions from your own small sampling of results. You can end up with egg on your face very quickly, especially when you consider Google is probably still making adjustments and refinements on Caffeine as it analyzes the results.

However, there are certain ranking factors that even Google is telling us about, mainly “Site Speed” or how fast your site loads will play a part in how its ranked. We have also heard a lot about “Broken Links” and if your page or site has them, then it will probably be ranked lower. Of course, linking out to “Bad Neighborhoods” will probably still not be a good practice, if you want higher rankings within Google.

It should not come as a shock or a surprise, that “Over-All Page Quality” will play a greater role in how well your page ranks. Keep in mind, Google is like any other company putting out a product, if that product doesn’t have a high standard of quality, it reflects badly back on everyone concerned. Google’s SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages) are the key to all their online revenue, they must do everything in their power to keep that product fast, relevant, current and above all high quality.

Therefore, expect “OnPage Factors” to play a much greater role in Google Caffeine. Quality unique content, page design, good navigation, title, meta tags, description, keyword density, alt tags, page views, bounce rate, traffic numbers, time spent on page, and the number of social bookmarks may play an increased role in achieving high rankings. A perfectly optimized keyworded page, with the keyword in the title, description, meta tags, alt tags, on the page… will probably get you ranked higher in Caffeine, as well as most search engines on the web.

This may be pure speculation on my part, but one of the areas Caffeine will be addressing or incorporating is “Social BookMarking”, that is the number of social bookmarks a page receives will determine how high it is ranked. I also believe one of the major reasons these bookmarks will become much more important has to do with the whole nasty issue of link buying.

Now, the integrity of Google’s index is not in question, but any savvy marketer or webmaster knows any individual or company with deep pockets and huge resources can buy their way into the top spot. Despite Google’s attempt to stop it, link buying and keyword positioning, is a thriving industry on the web. Rightly or wrongly, money and unlimited resources will get you or your company to the top in organic search, regardless of which search engine you’re targeting.

All moral and ethnical issues aside, the small webmaster and/or online marketer is stuck right in the middle, with Google on one side and these major multinational competitors on the other. Looming on the horizon is Google Caffeine, a new sheriff in town!

What New Rules Will This Sheriff Bring?

The major question here is this: has the importance of backlinking been downplayed in this new index in favor of the keyworded domain and onsite content and optimization? Has there been a major shift to listing more quality content rather than relying on the number of backlinks a site is receiving, even from important related themed sites? The major problem and question to Google is this: if links can be bought, how do you keep your organic results democratic and fair, which was the original intention of Larry Page and Sergey Brin when they started Google in 1998.

One Possible Solution is Social Bookmarking.

Will we see an ever growing importance of social bookmarks and links in this new index. It is quite easy to buy 1000 links, but getting 1000 or 10,000 “re-tweets” is a little more difficult. Similarly, getting two or three thousand “diggs” may be a little harder to pull off. Same goes for Del.icio.us bookmarks, Facebook fans… well you get the picture. Will Google’s use of these new social sites make Caffeine faster, more relevant, more current and most importantly of all, can it bring some democracy back into their index?

Of course, nothing in Google’s new index will be that cut and dry, that black and white. Other ranking factors such as age of site, past history and reputation, traffic numbers, authority branding… will all play a role in whether your site gets listed on that all important first page. However, on page factors may play a greater role – title, meta tags, description, keyword density, alt tags, page views, bounce rate, time spent on page, and the number of social bookmarks may play an increased role in achieving high rankings. Website speed or how fast your site loads may also be a new ranking factor.

Underlying this whole issue is the fact which many experienced webmasters/marketers already know, Google’s SERPs are not a one-trick pony anymore. For very lucrative (monetized) keyword phrases, Google’s results are broken up into Five categories… Info listings, Video listings, News Listings, Shopping Listings and Corporate Listings. Forget Caffeine, this is probably the fairest move Google has made in the last few years to make its SERPs more democratic.

Another even more puzzling issue for me concerning Google Caffeine is how much emphasis or ranking power will it place on “Keyworded Domains”, domain names which have your keyword or keyword phrase in them. Will these domains be ranked higher? Webmasters and marketers for years have been telling us we should always pick domain names which have our major keywords in them. Just common sense really, someone searching for “brown widgets” will more likely than not find that item at a domain called brownwidgets(dot)com or brownwidget(dot)com. The major SEO reasoning, all your backlinks will inherently have your searched keyword in the URL, thus bringing it up in the rankings.

Against this whole backdrop, everyone has to realize the web itself is evolving, new sites like Twitter, FaceBook… have changed the whole cyber landscape. Likewise, the web user is also changing and becoming more web savvy in how they use the web. Will search engines, not only Google, take a back-seat role in how we find stuff on the web? As major sites are branded into the web user’s psyche, will these users go directly to these sites, by-passing the search engines altogether?

As the web evolves, keyworded domains will become more valuable and this value will be reflected in the quality of the site. If you’re making thousands or even millions from your keyworded domain, you can afford to invest in quality content and design. Cream rises to the top. Gradually, as these domains become more valuable, they will probably be snapped up by marketers and companies who know just how to exploit them. Thousands upon thousands of keyworded domains will probably be bought up by multi-billion dollar corporations who finally realize what the web has to offer. This new evolved web will probably be much more narrower in scope and very topic specific.

In the “Next Generation” Web the Re-Direct Shall Be King!

Will the role of the search engines, whether it be Google or Bing/Yahoo, become less and less important, as savvy web searchers go directly to a site by typing in the keyworded domain to find what they’re looking for on the web? Cutting out the middleman may just become a world wide passion as big multinational and fully funded corporations snap up all these valuable and lucrative keyworded domains. Will we see these domains grow in importance and the search engines take more of a back-up role? Human nature dictates we always take the fastest route to our destination and the web will be no exception to this rule.

Have all the smart people at Google figured this out already, and designed the new Google Caffeine to reflect the growing importance of the keyworded domain? Of course, we can only speculate when it comes to just what Google is planning and doing with its next generation search engine, but will onsite factors and your domain name play a greater role in their organic SERPs?

Regardless of what the new sheriff actually does, when the dust finally settles on all these latest developments, the keyworded domain will probably be standing tall, watching the sun rise on a brand newday.


Titus Hoskins is a full time online affiliate marketer. His livelihood is derived from & depended upon search engine marketing & daily monitoring of targeted keywords, mainly within Google. He runs numerous sites, including: Free Marketing Tools & Internet Marketing Tools Titus Hoskins Copyright 2009. This article may be freely distributed with box.

22 Responses to “Google Caffeine And The New Ranking Factors

    avatar ldii says:

    I don’t see any significant changes on Google algorithm except that Google want to strengthen his vision and philosophy “content is the king”

    Dear Titus thank you for this amazing article. It really reflects google today and needed this text to start thinking some more things to improve my websites positions. thank you so much. greetings from Morocco!

    avatar Seo Services says:

    Thanks for the article, it does explain some of the irregularities we have been seeing.
    The problem for me is how to explain this to clients. For the past ten years people have been fixated with “links”, I realise that they will still play a part but not the part.
    We are going to have to re-educate site owners to the “new world” out there.

    Thanks
    All the Best for the New Year

    avatar William Cross says:

    #1: site speed is NOT a factor in caffiene. ‘Some’ people at google are lobbying to ‘make’ it a factor at some future time.

    #2: Broken links have NOT been shown to be a factor in rankings.

    I will refrain from reading further in this article thanks.

    avatar Jeff Carlson says:

    Thank you, this was one of the better articles that I have read in a long time now.
    As a small web business, I will find a way to take advantage of this!

    avatar CDI collection agency says:

    Great article. It seems lately that bing and google have a lot of competition flying around. I wonder if this was done to compete against bing taking over part of the market

    avatar Free Stuff says:

    This is one of the most informative articles on the new Google algorithms I have seen. We would all be well advised to start making the changes necessary to be a leg up on the competition when the new changes take effect.

    Thank you very much for this concise and useful information.

    Content will always be the king.

    Thanks for a great summary of your views and findings on the upcoming caffeine implementation. It’s all fairly common-sense stuff and I think it works to make the SERPs fairer and less able to be manipulated.
    I think the secret is that if your site is about brown widgets then the pages, URL, images, tags, meta tags and everything else should be about brown widgets. it kinda makes sense and should result in better results.
    Thanks again :)

    I agree with most of what you said, but I think you are off on your logic for the keyworded domain.

    Google puts the most weight on things that you can not control, because they are more objective. Large companies or whoever gets there first gets the keyworded domain, not whoever has the most valuable content.

    I would focus less on the domain and the on page optimization and a lot more on the social networking and off page optimization…

    […] that Google is going to be launching after the first of the year. I would suggest that you read the article yourself for more information about what Google is […]

    avatar Digi says:

    I had to make the following experience. Suggestions for site speed in the webmastertools = already ranked worse. Seems to be important.

    […] pod nazivom Google Caffeine. Neke od najverovatnijih velikih promena leže u još većem fokusu na kvalitet sadržaja i na smanjenje uticaja linkovanja sa drugih sajtova (back-links). Još neke pretpostavke. Ova nova verzija pretraživanja očekuje se početkom sledeće […]

    avatar Tomas says:

    It really pisses me off when people talk about content is king. There I just wanted to say that. What frigging content is needed by a pizza delivery service or taxi. Google should focus on displaying the contents people want to find, we don’t all want to make videos, though off course I have.

    avatar Karunakar says:

    Thanks Titus Hoskins for sharing summery. I believe on page factors, bounce rate & social bookmarking plays a important role in Google beta. And mostly, backlinks from useless directories will be skipped. Only high quality directoties will be considered.

    Mostly, quality sites won’t affected in Beta serp.

    avatar Poonam Sud says:

    Would stick to basics (SEO Practice) and would experiment on page speed.

    avatar James says:

    Very nice article Titus. I’m still watching Caffeine closely, so far it’s faster and that’s the only conclusion thus far. Results are somewhat similar to Bing, but also many are saying it’s an “SEO Killer”. Personally, I think that if the optimization methods used are clean; everything from content/relevancy to site architecture and you using the best practices, this will not me a major issue and can actually be a benefit…

    avatar online pharmacy no prescription says:

    I really like your blog and i respect your work. I’ll be a frequent visitor.

    avatar Ravi Kant says:

    Again informative article, you are very deep knowledge about SEO. Keep writing.

    avatar H Blye says:

    Thank you titus for a straight forward, easy to read and understand article. I sold a domain name a few months ago and now I see the light.

    Much respect,
    Harriette

    avatar Santechnika says:

    Wow, it’s not news, but it’s new for me. Thank you, very informative.

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