The Google Caffeine Update – What’s it all about

There’s been a huge amount of hype around Google Caffeine since the sandbox was launched and again when Google announced that Caffeine was gradually going to be rolled out. Has there been too much hype for a change that Google have assured us shouldn’t seriously impact rankings? Andrew Girdwood explores that question on his blog.

What is Google Caffeine?

The Google Caffeine update is an overhaul of the underlying Google architecture/framework that will firstly enable Google to index more of the web, and secondly enable them to carry out this indexing faster. Google Caffeine is a essentially the new architecture that will enable Google to drive forward and take search to the next level. The general consensus is the Caffeine will lay the groundwork for Google to release future updates which could have significant impacts.

What isn’t Google Caffeine?

Google Caffeine is not an algorithm update ala Vince or Orion whereby the fundamental factors that go into ranking a website get tweaked, possibly resulting in major rankings changes.

Will the Caffeine update change things?

Google stated there shouldn’t be a noticeable rankings change – I only partly agree with this, why?

To answer that question lets revisit the one of initial aims of the Caffeine update ‘to crawl and index a greater proportion of the internet’. The Google algorithm is based on links right? So by crawling and indexing more of web Google’s going to find more links. It stands to reason that these newly found links will have an impact on rankings.

Now let’s not get ahead of ourselves here, the chances are if a website or webpage isn’t in Google’s index at the moment that site or page isn’t going that much, if any link authority to pass. So in short the top rankings Google probably won’t see any change, but the deeper into the SERps you go there could be some changes as the new links that Google may find could have an impact.

Real-time Search

My view is that the Caffeine update, amongst other things will see Google making a push towards real-time search. Many see real-time search as the next big milestone that Google and Bing are racing towards. Only time will tell if this is in-fact the case.

Where does this leave you?

The burning questions all the hype is leaving in the minds of site owners

  • How will the Caffeine update affect me?
  • Do I need to do anything?

In short there could be a slight chance the Caffeine update may affect you if you don’t rank highly in the SERPs. The answer to the second question is simple – you don’t need to do anything to prepare for Caffeine. If you do notice a drop in traffic and rankings when Caffeine is rolled out (Google should be releasing the IP address of the first data centre in the roll-out) seek advice from an SEO consultant.

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