December 14, 2009
In August, Google announced the upcoming roll out of the Google Caffeine infrastructure. Google was quick to point out that they would not launch the new infrastructure until after the Christmas holiday shopping season — giving many online retail stores confidence for the upcoming Christmas shopping season.
In the August announcement, Google described Caffeine this way:
“For the last several months, a large team of Googlers has been working on a secret project: a next-generation architecture for Google’s web search. It’s the first step in a process that will let us push the envelope on size, indexing speed, accuracy, comprehensiveness and other dimensions. The new infrastructure sits “under the hood” of Google’s search engine, which means that most users won’t notice a difference in search results. But web developers and power searchers might notice a few differences…”
After Thanksgiving, Google said that they had taken Caffeine out of its “sandbox” phase, and that it launched Caffeine on only one of its Data Centers. Search Engine Land was able to confirm that Google had launched Caffeine on the IP address 188.8.131.52, and it was running on this IP address for at least half of its searches. However, the full roll out of Caffeine continues to remain in holding pattern, until after the Christmas season.
Analyzing Google’s Search Engine Result Pages…
Several online publishers and SEO companies jumped into testing the Google Caffeine search results in August, when the original announcement was made public.
The results of testing were somewhat mixed…
- Everyone pretty much agreed that the Caffeine infrastructure was faster than the original Google infrastructure, except for results that included Advanced Search queries, such as when you are using subtraction signs, quotes in query, etc. Mashable suggested that Google Caffeine actually doubled the speed of a Google search.
- Google Caffeine tends to show a larger data set for the number of search results for a particular search.
- The weighting of Video and Universal Search is scaled back in Caffeine.
- A slight value increase to exact match domain names.
- Google seems to be putting a little bit more emphasis on the age of a website.
- An increased weight for domain authority and tag pages on authority websites.
- A substantial increase in weight for social media websites. Currently FriendFeed seems to carry more weight than Twitter or FaceBook.
- Google Caffeine has shown a tendency to put more weight on keyword phrases or keyword strings, as opposed to singular keywords.
- Another major change, which is a reflection of how Google deals with breaking news stories, is that Google is willing to show the title and a description of a page, before it even caches the page in its index.
An interesting change in the Google Search Engine Results that I noted while doing the research for this article is that about half-way down the page, Google has added a real-time element to news items…
What they have done is to load a self-updating Iframe to the search results that shows updated news items on a topic as they become available. The image results are located just under this real-time news block. You can see it now, by doing a quick Google search for Barack Obama.
Also of interest about this real-time news window is that it is actually capturing some of its results from Twitter and other social media websites.
What This Means To Webmasters and SEO Providers…
If you have been relying upon video to push you to the top of Google’s search results, this is no longer a sure-fire method of achieving top search placement quickly.
If you thought that Twitter and other social media websites were worthless to you in Google, then you might start taking a second look.
If you are not getting listings or mentions on authority websites, then you may be missing out on some SEO opportunities.
If you have a keyword-heavy domain name, then your investment may start to help you more going forward.
If you have focused on single keywords and bypassed keyword strings for optimization, you may begin paying heavily for that decision going forward.
Domain age will become more important after Caffeine is fully rolled out, so it is in our best interests to seek links from older websites and to put more emphasis on older sites in our domain portfolios.
Old Google vs New Google Comparisons
Some SEO Providers have noted major changes between the two search engines, although in my own experience, the placement for my target keywords has not suffered, but I have not made major gains either.
In the Old Google, I could put a search result on page one of Google in as little as 15 minutes. I hope that remains unchanged moving forward into the future. Of course my stuff isn’t news, so I will be holding my breath that I can put a web page on page one of Google in only a few minutes — going forward.
The main difference we are going to see going forward is the emphasis on keyword strings as opposed to keywords in the new Google Caffeine roll-out.
If you have been targeting single keywords for your website or the website’s of your clients, be prepared to scramble to overcome your losses in Google’s search rankings… But if you have been targeting those long-tail keywords for any length of time, then you will probably be dancing on the ceiling once Google Caffeine is live across all of its data centers.
We have seen a lot of testimony that Google will not change its appearance that much after the Google Caffeine roll-out…
But we have seen enough testimony to expect that some people will be crying rivers of tears, while others will be dancing the jig, after the Google Caffeine launch…
The only thing we can know for sure at this point, is that we really won’t know the impact of Caffeine until after the roll-out as 2010 gets underway.
Trey Pennewell is a writer who has written about SEO and online business for a number of years. He encourages you to learn about and purchase the new SEO ebook titled, “Karma SEO and the Great Search Engine Ranking Dance” at http://www.LinksAndTraffic.com/