July 27, 2010
Since its debut in 1996, Google’s search engine has experienced countless updates and revisions. But none of those revisions have fundamentally changed the architecture of the Google search algorithm as much as Google’s latest update, codenamed Caffeine.
While recent reports put Google’s market share at around 65 percent, a massive update to its search engine technology makes sense at this point. Microsoft’s new Bing search engine showed some resiliency in late 2009, while Web 2.0 services like Facebook and Twitter have done a lot to change the way people search for content on the Internet.
For Google to remain the most popular search service, it will have to counter Bing’s claims of technical superiority. It would also have to more effectively incorporate “real-time search,” the term used for finding information and content – like tweets from Twitter and breaking news stories – that have just been posted.
That means a radically different Google search engine. And it also means that those who care about Website search engine optimization and placement may have a lot of new rules to learn if they want to earn high Website rankings on Google. Because Caffeine is a significant departure from previous versions of Google’s search engines, Website owners and marketers could see dramatically different results for their search engine optimization and placement efforts.
But the good news is that Google has offered Webmasters and online marketers a taste of Caffeine’s unique algorithms. Search engine optimization and placement specialists have been able to test their Websites against an early version of Caffeine. And while it’s a nice gesture by Google to offer the chance for Webmasters and marketers to do some preliminary research, it would be wrong to draw any hard and fast conclusions at this point. It’s more than likely that Google will continue to tweak and refine Caffeine and its search engine optimization and placement for months after its official release.
So are there any search engine optimization and placement tips and tricks that we can learn from Caffeine? Yes. Google has hinted that several new things will have a major impact on search engine optimization and placement. Here are the most important changes.
1. Website speed: Google will now place more importance on how quickly a Website loads. That means Websites that load fast will be given prominence in search engine optimization and placement over Websites that are slow and clunky.
2. Broken links: Links that go nowhere aren’t just annoying, they’ll soon count as a strike against a Website’s search engine optimization and placement efforts. It’s already an accepted rule that any good website shouldn’t have broken links. Now it’s even more important for Website owners make sure that every link goes somewhere relevant.
3. Penalties for linking to bad neighborhoods: Currently, linking to spammers and obtaining incoming links from known spammers is not a good way to achieve the best search engine optimization and placement results. Look for Caffeine to place even more importance on staying away from link farms and other malicious online practices.
4. Overall website quality: Some canny Website owners have gotten good search engine optimization and placement results by ranking high in a single factor that Google assesses, while ignoring other aspects. Under Caffeine, the overall quality will be under closer inspection. Having just one or two key search engine optimization and placement ranking factors won’t be enough.
So what will you have to change if you want to achieve great search engine optimization and placement results under Caffeine? If you already have a Website that subscribes to Google and SEO best practices, then there probably isn’t a lot you’ll have to tweak.
Here are some steps you can take to make sure that you’re Website is primed to get good results under Caffeine:
1. Eliminate all spam elements from your Website: Any part of your Website that could conceivably be considered spam will likely have a negative effect on your search engine optimization and placement efforts. Spam elements include Website text that’s the same color as the background, Website cloaking, and automated linking.
2. Reevaluate your Website design and structure: Make sure your Website looks great and is user-friendly. Users should be able to easily navigate through the Website and search engines should be able to understand and categorize a Web page just by reading its title and meta tags.
3. Get links from social bookmark and other social media sites: Links from social bookmark sites like Digg and Delicious are already important to gaining good search engine optimization and placement. The importance of links from these types of sites is likely to increase under Caffeine.
4. Check your Website links: Make sure that you aren’t linking to any Websites that could potentially be labeled as spammers. Having a selection of quality links is far better than gathering as many links as possible.
By following the above tips and tricks, your Website should have no problem adjusting to Google’s new search engine. And you’ll have a crucial advantage when it comes to getting great search engine optimization and placement results.
Wendy Suto is CEO and President of Search Circus, an ethical and certified SEO firmbased in Cleveland Ohio that specializes in search engine optimization, social media marketing, corporate blogs, and link building for small to large businesses throughout the U.S.