OK I know you will all have read about Google Caffeine going live and yes I realise this post is old news and I am never going to rank for the keyword, however even though I have read a lot about the new update there seems to be very little in terms of how it may affect our SEO efforts, so as well as talking about the update I also wanted to think about how this may affect rankings and general SEO efforts.
I think the best place to begin this is to summarise how Google was indexing pages and how caffeine improves on that process.
Google in the Past
When you search Google you are only seeing the indexed part of the web. Google’s index was made up of layers, obviously there are layers that were indexed quicker than others probably based on PageRank, however to update what we see when we perform a search, Google would have to perform an entire crawl of the web before it could update the results, this obviously caused delays, even up to 2 weeks according to Google’s official blog.
This lag in refreshing the SERPS meant fresh stories and information were being missed, hence Google’s emphasis on up to date information using tweets, Google news and blog results.
I won’t go into this anymore, you can read more about the technicalities on the official blog and a nice little video from Google spokesman Matt Cutts.
Caffeine has Landed!!!
Now that caffeine is in place it means our fresh new content is indexed as a continual process, Google doesn’t have to go out and index the entire web before updating your new blog post, instead it can fire it into the main index as it finds it. ‘Caffeine’ means more alert, switched on and ready to pump out the freshest content on the web.
The update has meant we have a 50% fresher index and means users will be able to better find the most update content for their particular search query.
So caffeine is great for users but what could it potentially mean for SEO’s and Internet Marketers that rely on Google traffic?
Some Thoughts Going Forward
Now, the official word is that Google Caffeine does not affect ranking factors however there are suggestions that the data collected through caffeine could be used to optimise the results even further.
Quicker Content = Quicker Traffic
Yes it’s that longtail thing again……
The fact is if you are writing a lot of fresh content and optimising it for easy win longtail traffic, that traffic should come through much quicker than before. Of course there are a few proviso’s on this, caffeine won’t be picking your new content up if your website lacks authority, so don’t neglect your link building as this will ultimately decide how efficiently your content is picked up by Google.
The best ways to get your content indexed faster is by either submitting to Google news and/or submitting new blog/news entries to a handful of bookmarking websites (which you should be doing anyway).
Are older pages going to suffer?
The truth on this is nobody really knows, if ranking factors haven’t changed this surely means the best optimised page regardless of ‘freshness’ will win. However, we have seen some interesting results across all our clients keywords with ‘fresh’ news stories making it into the top 5 on Google almost instantly with very little in terms of links, however these are really authoritative websites such as the Independent.
Does this mean we need to refresh and update old content? Not too sure yet but one thing to keep in mind is, if you hold keyword positions for terms that are written about in the media often, expect wild ranking fluctuations.
Quicker insights into your link growth
What we have to remember is that when Google crawls your page it also analyses who you link to and who links to you. This information could now be gathered and applied even quicker than before, therefore those 1000 new links you bought 10 minutes ago could potentially be discovered by Google almost instantly and signals acted upon within minutes.
This can also work in a positive way as Google will be able to apply fresh links from a viral campaign even quicker than before. When we launch viral content we usually see the effects in rankings land a week or 2 later, with caffeine this gap could be significantly decreased.
I am not going to lie, this is all speculation, either way I think caffeine is a positive step in the right direction and shouldn’t affect your ‘ethical’ SEO efforts other than maybe putting more emphasis on fresh content than before, if that’s possible .
Any further insights are more than welcome.