Google Caffeine Boosts Coffee Sales for SEOs

They've Got an Awful Lot of Coffee in Brazil by Giuseppe Del Monte

There have been some quite big changes in the way search engines work over the past 6-12 months, mainly due to Google rolling out what they’ve nicknamed the Caffeine update.

All this means that SEOs now need a lot more coffee so that they can stay awake all night long wondering how the heck to optimise their clients’ websites. 

So what is this Caffeine? In a nutshell, it is a new web indexing system that means that the crawling and indexing of web pages now happens in parallel (in the past these were two separate things). The impact this has is that the current index (and thus the search results you see) are now far closer to real-time. Gone are the days of waiting for your latest blog post to get indexed; this has probably already happened by the time you’ve boiled the kettle.

This means that Google (and let’s not forget Bing!) now need to take extra factors into consideration when ranking web pages – specifically the “buzz” created by people sharing and discussing content on and around social platforms. Of course, it would be foolish if they only looked at buzz volume, so other factors are needed to help measure quality, like reputation and influence.

This is in fact very similar to our beloved PageRank algorithm, where you would obtain lots of links, but not all of those links were treated as equals. In much the same way, Google won’t treat every person on each social platform equally. On Twitter, for example, those people who have more followers, more tweets, more re-tweets, etc are more influential users. A link from them is far more powerful than a link from Joe Bloggs’ Twitter feed with only 2 friends and 4 tweets. 

Another potential change in the way search engines index web pages revolves around the concept of “segmented indexing”. Due to the fact that large parts of web pages never change (or only very rarely), it is a waste of bandwidth and processing power to index each page in its entirety. This means that boilerplate page elements (such as side bars and footers) will not get re-indexed as often as the main content of each page.

Savvy SEOs are responding to these changes by adapting link building methods to incorporate much more social-based link building and more intelligent placing of links within each page. Yes this harps back to the age old method of “link baiting” by producing great content and hoping people will link back to your site. However, now there is an added dimension of seeding content in the right community – that is to say a community of engaged people who are likely to consume, share and discuss your content to generate the required buzz.

So does this mean we dump all our old link building methods? Not at all, we just need to add more weapons to our arsenal. I’m sure most people will have a fair idea about different methods for link building, so we’ll finish off with some techniques that should be avoided:

  • Adding links to side bars and footers
  • Getting too many links from the same domain
  • Not having relevant text surrounding the link
  • Over-using the same anchor text for every link
  • Forum and comment signatures acting as backlinks to the same page
  • Adding links into an article after it has already been indexed

If you’re relying on any of these techniques to boost your rankings, then my advice would be to act now! Get your SEO up to date and avoid the disappointment of losing lots of traffic to your site.

Photo (cc) Giuseppe Del Monte.