So it has happened again the Internet Search giant Google has made yet another change to their search engine. It has been talked about and tested for quite a while now and finally after all the testing and polishing Google Caffeine is now a reality.
Google first introduced the new updates as a testable version to those who wanted to dive in back in August of 2009, and now it is here. I have been reading some of what people are saying about Caffeine and I would like to be the first to say as a small time user I have not really noticed much of a difference, as I bet most common computer users haven’t either. However in my readings I have discovered a few things.
First I want to give you some information on how Search Engines work. Since we are discussing Google Caffeine lets use Google as our example. Now here’s a simplified version of how it works, Google sends out robots to scan the web content and pick out the important parts of it. This process is known as crawling. When the google bot is done crawling a site it stores the relevant data in the index. The Index is like a big reference sheet for the data on the web. When you do a search on Google what you are really looking through is Google’s index of information which then links you to what sites are most relevant.
Now that you have a better understanding of how the process works I will try my best to explain the recent update to Google. According to Matt Cutts of Google the changes in caffeine are to the info structure of the indexing system. So that is why average computer user won’t notice much of a difference. Now what this does mean is for the people that are considered power users and also to those that advertise with Google there might be some noticeable changes.
So here is what caffeine is supposed to do. Basically when the crawler is done with a page it takes time to reach the index. So if John posts a new blog entry at 9 am and it is crawled at 9:05am then it will appear in the index by 9:30am. Well caffeine is supposed to make that happen faster so that you can search for content as it comes available online. It is Google’s’ way of keeping up with the real-time world of internet users.
That was the major change now there are some other changes as well. One being that there is increased space for the index. Not that it was an issue but most people think this was in anticipation of the new content being indexed and the constantly growing amount of data being searched. Also Google claims that it has improved its accuracy for searching.
Now the big worry when this update was being tested was how it would affect the ranking or SERP (search engine results position) of advertisers on the site. When it was brought up it was an issue that dismissed and it was said that there were going to be no changes to the ranking algorithm. However whether it is intentional or unintentional there were some changes. Not necessarily because of changes in the ranking algorithm but because the new Caffeine info structure is built to cover more information so therefore older data and newer data has more competition then it ever did before. So now there is more content being indexed which means your content will have to compete more to keep its spot.
There are potentially good and bad things to come from this change for some people the bad is that their content is losing rank. However that can be fixed by posting content more often and also participating in Social Networking. The plus side is that there is more competition and that makes for a better experience for everyone else. The way I look at it is competition between advertisers usually benefits the customers so maybe this isn’t such a bad update after all.
Matt Cutts Discussing Caffeine at SMX Advanced in Seattle