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Capital Region Business Journal Article

Article Originally published in the Captial Region Business Journal - September 2010

Title: Google ramping up with Caffeine; here's how to make most of changes



By: Jonny Buroker

Google announces new indexing system - caffeine

On June 8th Google announced the completion of a new web indexing system called Caffeine, which provides 50 percent fresher results for web searches than the previous Google index. 

 

Caffeine allows Google to provide more current, and therefore more relevant, content to the searcher much sooner after it is published than was possible before.  Certain aspects of the Caffeine update have been visible for several months and Google officially announced that the updates have been completed.

Just a short tutorial of Google’s search engine technology: When you conduct a search on Google, you’re not actually searching the live web.  Rather, you are searching Google’s index of the web and the content in that index.  There was often a significant delay between the time that Google found a new page and when it was made available to the search engine.

need for more current information

While the “old” index information wasn’t a serious problem in the past, it certainly is in today’s environment where the amount of content being added to the web every day is proliferating.  With millions of blogs posts, social media (e.g., Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter) updates, YouTube videos uploaded, and website pages being added and refreshed daily, Google felt they needed to provide more of this relevant content in near real-time.  Also, users of the web have higher expectations and want access to the most current information. 

Google’s response to meet rising user expectations was to build Caffeine, Google’s first major search engine change since 2006.  With Caffeine, the web is indexed in small portions on a continuous basis.  When Caffeine finds new pages, or new information on existing pages, they are added straight to the index.  What that means is searchers can find fresher information than ever before. 

impact of caffeine on Search Engine Optimization (SEO) efforts

So, why should your business care about the changes brought about by Caffeine?  Certain enhancements that are included in the Caffeine updates will impact your SEO practices and you must be cognizant of the changes and how you can take advantage of them.

 

  • website content: The content on your site needs to be relevant to the core theme, products or services. This will allow Caffeine to accurately index your content.  Your content needs to be original, or presented in an original manner, and should contain a list of selling points or quantifiable benefits to help increase conversions.
  • Meta Title and description tags: The Meta Title and Description tags that sit behind every page on your website are very important to search relevancy as they increase the accuracy of indexing your site and presenting your pages on the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs).  The Description tag is your opportunity to clearly explain what your site offers and why they should visit. Done well, your title and description tags will drive more organic traffic to your site. 
  • Page download times: Slow loading web pages not only frustrate visitors, but it could negatively impact those sites with the Caffeine changes.  While it’s not clear that Google will punish slow loading sites in the SERPs, the experts expect Caffeine to reward the faster loading site if they are of equal relevancy.
  • keep content fresh and up to date: A site that hasn’t had its content updated recently or is out of date will quickly be abandoned and open the door for competitors to gain their business.  Part of the Caffeine algorithm will reward sites that remain fresh and up to date.
  • quality inbound and outbound links: It’s been speculated for some time that Google has been giving a bigger weighting to high quality links.  It’s believed that quality isn’t the only important factor, but that emphasis should be placed on high quality links that are relevant to the web site’s core subject matter, products or services.  Likewise, outbound links should link to sites that contain content that’s relevant to the site. 
  • social media real-time updates: With Caffeine recognizing real time updates from such sites as Twitter.com, Social Media Marketing should no longer be viewed as a luxury but as a requirement of businesses that want to compete online.

 

Google’s goal with Caffeine is to improve their customers’ experience and to present them with current, relevant content. Your goal should be the same, and modifying your SEO efforts to take advantage of Caffeine will help “wake up” your business.

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