If you haven't heard, Google has been working on a the next generation of their web search dubbed Google Caffeine. For the past month web professionals have been trying to figure out what impact this will have on the all powerful Google search engine rankings. After researching information from Google and independent sources my personal conclusion is:
Google Caffeine does not drastically change the search engine ranking placement. You may be thinking but I was #1 and now I am #3. OK, that is clearly a change. But when the index size is a million results I consider a significant change to move from #1 to #15. Generally, first page results remain first page results. I believe Caffeine in its current state is the foundation for Google to implement future changes to the algorithm. There are changes I think are happening now. It appears that Google is paying attention to time relevancy. A comparison of results for "Loyan" is a demonstration of that. In general, YouTube video results are moving up, noticeably into the first page of results where they did not appear before.
I know you are dying to to do some vanity searches for yourself and your company (its what I did right away). Here are two places you can do that. Go on, the rest of this post will wait here for you.
- A Google provided sandbox for testing: http://www2.sandbox.google.com/
- Very nice side-by-side results comparing old and new: http://www.comparecaffeine.com/
Mashable, SEO Book, and Google itself are some of my favorite resources for information on website best practices and SEO. In all, these sources didn't give me the impression that the changes were very significant at this point. Stan Schroeder of Mashable.com says, "As far as the results go, the changes still seem rather subtle, but one has to admit that [the current] Google Search is functioning quite well as it is, so it's hard to expect dramatic improvements in this area." Google itself even tells us that they will roll out changes to the algorithm over time, just like they always have.
Some sources I found useful:
http://www.mattcutts.com/blog/caffeine-update http://googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.com/2009/08/help-test-some-next-generation.html http://mashable.com/2009/08/10/google-caffeine http://mashable.com/2009/09/14/google-caffeine-compare http://mashable.com/2009/08/14/google-caffeine-video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NU5cKDryjy0 http://www.seobook.com/google-caffeine
The best source I found came from http://blog.searchenginewatch.com/090825-163156 where they reported on an analysis of 40 retail keywords by a digital marketing agency called 360i. I really like tests like these. They compared the results of:
- 10 major retail brand names (keywords)
- 10 retail head terms (single keywords)
- 10 retail torso terms (two-word phrases)
- 10 retail long-tail phrases (four-word phrases)
Their resulting conclusions were:
- Domains and rankings will fluctuate.
- The index size of single keyword search relevance will increase, meaning more competition.
- Long-tail becomes more relevant.
- Caffeine is faster. You'll get results (SERPs) in half the time, on average.
- Universal (aka Blended) results will increase
- Social media listings will increase, primarily due to a lift in YouTube listings.
How do your search comparisons look? How did it affect your personal or business results? What theories or conclusions can you make from your your own observations?
(Thank you to Katherine Cleland for inspiring me to investigate Google Caffeine.)