Google Caffeine: Another Piece In A More Complicated SEO Puzzle
Long anticipated and much hypothesized, Google Caffeine officially went live Tuesday evening. While not an algorithmic change of the Mayday caliber, Caffeine offers significant changes to the user experience with claims that the engine now offers 50% fresher results. Tweaks in search occur constantly and across all engines with varying SEO implications. With Caffeine being Google’s most significant indexing change in years, dialog surrounding its impact has rapidly expanded over the past 72 hours. This change does not come as a surprise to many industry professionals but can be seen as a crucial step in the major search infrastructure overhaul Google has been engaged in over the past year.
Early consensus maintains that Caffeine itself will have very little impact on SEO practices and results. At its most basic level Caffeine is simply a more efficient crawl to index process in which indexes are updated closer to real-time from the moment they are crawled. Yes, by itself faster indexing holds almost zero SEO implications, but this would be like saying lettuce has no impact on the experience of devouring a delicious BLT. While Google’s Matt Cuts claims that the Mayday algorithmic change has nothing to do with Caffeine, it is important to note the impact these two independent updates (or ingredients) create when placed together. One could consider the Mayday update as an engine modification for more specialized, high end performance and Caffeine as a significantly elevated octane fuel needed to power this engine modification to its highest potential. As our own Ricardo Figueiredo describes, Caffeine is the means by which Google can effectively implement the changes in long-tail search brought on by the Mayday update.
As search gets faster and more efficient, in particular long-tail search, it naturally then magnifies the importance of every SEO practice. Site load speed, meta title and tag descriptions, crawl rate, freshness of content– elements that in the past could have evaded the attention they deserve– now hold greater weight. In turn we should begin to see faster results from SEO campaigns, but these faster results only mean that maintaining campaigns and desired SERPs over the long term will be even more difficult. A faster and more responsive search leads to significant complexities in keyword analysis and positioning as #1 rankings may have a higher propensity to change. For many these changes have already created a notable impact over the past two months. ”We are seeing a shift to where three or four word keywords are now the new generic keywords” Figueirdo notes.
For businesses looking to embark on an SEO campaign these changes increase the importance of selecting a team that not just stays on top of changes in search, but looks at them with enthusiasm and actively accepts the challenges brought on by an ever-changing landscape. Faster search, real time indexing, and long-tail search efficiency mean that staying literally on top of the game now, more than ever, requires an SEO strategy that is dynamic and ongoing. Short term pushes will see that short term shorten. In the end Google’s evolving search still maintains the same goal of connecting users to their desired content quickly and efficiently, so it is important embrace these changes as a more effective means to connect consumers to vendors. If anything Google’s recent changes will separate professionals who are serious about their craft from those who have just been pretending.June 15, 2010 3:48 pm Google Editorial, SEO