One thing is certain when working with the World Wide Web: change. Web technology is not stationary – nor should it be. Complacency in implementing improvements leads to limited functionality, which translates ultimately into losing traffic. No individual or company is exempt, including the Internet giant Google, which has maintained its dominance in global cyberspace through its clever adoption of leading- edge technologies for its online tools and services.
Introducing Google’s latest algorithm update, nicknamed Caffeine. While updating their search engines to be more efficient may bode well for users, it may have negative implications for marketers who have worked hard for the web traffic they enjoy as a result of good organic rankings. So what can we expect from Google Caffeine and how might it affect your rankings?
Google Caffeine – Cause for Concern?
Google engineer and Quality Control Team leader Matt Cutts has described the Caffeine update as being the most fundamental change to the Google search system since its Big Daddy update of 2005. When a search engine changes its algorithm, it usually leads to a shake up of search engine rankings (as many businesses experienced in 2005). So is there reason to be concerned about the Google Caffeine update?
What is Behind Caffeine?
When asked why Google has made this update, Matt Cutts explained it as improvements being made ‘under the hood’ – with most searchers not even noticing the difference. The upgrades have been made to the way Google indexes content, by rewriting its indexing system to crawl faster, index more efficiently, and serve up fewer results much more quickly.
The huge popularity of real-time, content-sharing platforms, such as the micro-blogging website Twitter, indicates how internet users’ surfing habits are changing, demanding a more immediate web experience that includes search capabilities.
As the nickname implies, the update is about injecting more speed and a sharper focus. At the end of the day, Google, like any search engine, wants – and needs – to quickly serve up fresh, relevant and focused search results to maintain and improve its market share.
How Caffeine Might Affect You
The simple answer is: if you adhere to search engine optimisation best practices, then Caffeine will affect you very little, if at all. In fact, to genuine search marketers Caffeine is more likely to be a benefit than a disadvantage. The reason for this is that one of the update’s aims is to weed out less relevant, older content that may be in the way of better search results being served on the first few pages.
Google says the changes in search results will be subtle because it will be introducing the changes over a period of months from one data centre to another. So, as mentioned, while it may be a significant change to the way the Google engine works, it is unlikely most users will notice it.
What Can You Do?
If you already employ a well-prepared search marketing strategy, then you already have a head start on a lot of people – and probably won’t need to do an awful lot different. But without resting on your laurels, it could help to consider the following points:
- Make your content easy to crawl. Help Google identify your content quickly by keeping your website code uncluttered (boring techy points), fast loading and well structured.
- Is your website easy to navigate? Keep your best content easy to find, not buried under layers of unnecessary hierarchical layers.
- Make sure you regularly update your content. As mentioned, searchers want fresh content – what’s being said today, yesterday, last week or month, not last year.
If you are already doing these things, then keep on keeping on. The Google Caffeine update will then be very unlikely to affect you.
In conclusion then, while the Google Caffeine update is significant, it’s not something to be unduly concerned about if you already have a good search marketing strategy in place. If you would like help with winning more search engine traffic for your website, give me a call on 01454 261111.