The Google Caffeine session at Pubcon Vegas 2010 did a great session Google Caffeine. Looking at what it is, what it means to your business and what you can do about it.

What is Google Caffeine?

Google caffeine was major update to Google’s indexing system that officially launched in June 2010. Google increased the speed at which Google indexed content and the amount of content that it indexed. According to Bruce Clay this means that that there are different crawler requirements:

  • Fresh content is crawled more often
  • Stale content crawled less often
  • More crawling leads to deeper content (we only see about 2% of the total web now)
  • More capacity allows for more domains which particularly opens up  room for local sites

This means that the Google index is faster and enabled Google instant which saves seconds of time wasted  by searcher and it means that the latest news and trends are more likely to appear in the search results.

What Does This Mean to Website Owners and Advertisers

In Bruce Clay’s presentation he discussed that “likes” will most likely become the new links, and that we need to pat attention to how social media may impact your website ranking in time. There have been discussions that a tweet with a link in it with retweets is likely to get indexed immediately. Google is indexing and grabbing content at a greater rate than ever before.

Bruce Clay noted that it also means

  • Frequency and rate of change matters
  • Depth of theme content matters
  • Index allows for rapid relationships to be used
  • Branding/authority more important
  • Behaviors results in long tail searches
  • Intent dynamically changes algorithm

What Should You do About It?

Pay attention to site speed. Check your site speed on tools such as and start looking for opportunities to improve your site speed. The most likely culprits for slowing your website down according to Daniel Shulman are:

  • Technical constraints (bandwidth, CPU, Db)
  • Problems with design and page coding
  • Third party apps such as ads or JavaScript widgets like Share This

The benefits of speeding up  your website go beyond SEO. The main benefits of improving your website speed according to Daniel Shulman include:

  • Decreased bandwidth / hardware requirements
  • Decreased Adwords cost per clicks (I would love to see the data on this one)
  • Increased conversion rates
  • Increases search rankings

Increasing site speed improves the user experience on your website, which does increase conversion rates. Some data that was represented during the session related to improved website speed and conversion rates was:

  • A/B test Firefox increased downloads by 15.4% by speeding up page by 2.2 seconds
  • Google test with 30 instead of 10 search results increased page load by half a second and decreased first searches by 25%

What to do about site speed issues for Google Caffeine (from Stoyan Stefanov <- great site speed for SEO advice on his blog by the way)

1. Reduce the number of requests (or number of components on the page) How:

  • Combine JavaScript into one file (preferably at the bottom of the pages)
  • Combine CSS files

2. Reduce component sizes. How:

  • Compression – flip gzip on for 70% savings on JS, CSS, HTML, XML, JSON…
  • Minimification (+gzip = 80-85% off size)
  • Lossless image optimization

A list of items to check off from Brian Ussery of Search Discovery were:

  • Focus on performance (webmaster tools)
  • XML site map including news, images and video (Google webmaster tools)
  • RSS feed/s (Feedburner)
  • Product data feed/s (product search /merchant center)
  • Google places aka Google Local Business center
  • Use PUSH (pubsubhubbub)
  • RDFa, microdata, microformat

May Day was a release by Google in May to improve Google’s capability to manage duplicate content. With Google Caffeine focusing on grabbing more content and May Day policing quality content you should be focusing on offering unique quality content, use editorial discretion and offer authoritative content.

You should avoid:

  • Duplicating manufacturer’s descriptions
  • Faceted navigation resulting in duplicate/canonical product pages
  • Content farminess
  • Mad libs style content
  • Automatically generated content
  • Scraped content

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  • Andy @ FirstFound

    How much do you think Caffiene has actually changed what SEOs do on a day-to-day basis?

    • Amanda Hudson

      I really worried that it would change a lot, but I haven’t really seen a huge impact. I have noted that websites I put up do seem to get indexed deeper faster, but that is the great extent of it. I do worry more about site speed, but I should worry about that for users either way!

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