Google Caffeine Update – is it Good News for You?

by Richard Gilmore

Google Caffeine was big news when it was first announced back in August. No doubt it’s going to be even bigger news when the update goes live. The question is whether this is going to be good news for your site?

The next-generation search infrastructure [codename Caffeine] that will be replacing current Google is supposed to be better in every way. Caffeine will be faster. It will index more pages. It will be more accurate and will serve better, more relevant results. Or at least that’s what we hear from Google. But every search marketer knows what relevant search results are – the ones where your own site’s on top 😉 So let’s see whether things are looking up for us.

There are two reasons why checking your rankings in Google Caffeine is a good idea.

1. The switch to Caffeine is sure to happen sooner or later.

2. The search results in the new Google will be very close to the ones we see in the developer preview at http://www2.sandbox.google.com/ (Both ideas are backed up by Matt Cutts (head of Google’s Webspam team) on his blog).

Manually checking your rankings on Google and Caffeine and comparing them is too much of work. Split-screen comparison tools make it a bit easier but are not enough to grasp the full picture of the ranking changes. Good thing is there’s finally a tool that lets you track multiple keywords and easily compare your rankings in Caffeine against the ‘old’ Google. The tool is called Rank Tracker. It’s a rank checker and keyword suggestion tool that’s been around for a while but it’s just now that a version with Google Caffeine has been rolled out.

I’ve run a test check for site-reference.com and it looks like Google Caffeine is good news for this site. Here’s a screenshot of the rankings report generated by Rank Tracker.

As you can see the overall visibility of site-reference.com is up by 11% on Google Caffeine against the current Google. Which means that the site ranks higher for more keywords: site-reference.com ranks in the top 10 for 9 keywords in Caffeine (only 7 in Google), 17 against 13 in top 20, and so on.

I used 27 keywords that I suppose are relevant for Site-reference such as [SEO articles], [SEO videos], [marketing articles], [online promotion], etc. Alongside with slight ranking differences there are considerable breakthroughs. For instance, for a very popular keyword – [online promotion] site-reference.com ranks #40 on Caffeine while it’s not in the top 100 results on the current Google.

So it looks like Caffeine is good news for Site-reference. And I would say it’s also a win for everyone who needs useful information because with quality web-sites ranking higher, this information gets easier to find.

We don’t really know when Google Caffeine will go live and substitute the current Google. It’s hard to tell for sure what new features and changes the new search architecture will bring, but obviously it’s better to start preparing for the big change beforehand. So that the day when what’s known as Google Caffeine becomes just Google we won’t be surprised seeing our rankings suddenly go either way (I’d prefer up). And even before this switch happens we can influence our future rankings if not by optimizing for Google Caffeine then by testing the new search mechanism and learning more about what works there in terms of SEO.

Check your sites rankings in Google Caffeine and find out whether the coming update is good news for you. And here’s a collection of quality SEO tools that let you optimize your site for Google Caffeine, test what techniques work there and stay a step ahead of your competition

Richard Gilmore is an Internet marketer, freelance SEO, author and addicted guitar player.

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