Google recently announced that they have been working on a behind-the-scenes update called “Caffeine”. It’s not a complete overhaul like MSN implemented at the beginning of June with their new search engine, Bing. In fact, Google has stated that the user interface will not be changing with this update and that the ranking of sponsored listings will also not be affected. Anyone familiar with search engine optimization (SEO) knows that the algorithms are updated regularly; however, an update of this size hasn’t been made since 2006.
So what’s the difference?
The goal of Caffeine, which until recently was under wraps, is to construct a new architecture for Google’s search. This includes increasing the index size, speed, accuracy, comprehensiveness, along with other factors. As with any update to search engines’ algorithms, this does not seem like a big deal from a searcher’s perspective, but these changes are made to improve their overall searching experience. It may also have an impact on someone focusing on SEO more than the average searcher. For instance, your site may not rank quite as well for some keywords, and for others your site may not be affected at all. Also, if more pages are indexed, this could lead to increased competition.
Caffeine is still in the works, so it’s hard to say how the final update will roll out. Google has set up a web developer preview for searchers and webmasters to test and provide feedback based on the results: http://www2.sandbox.google.com/. When you search for something on the preview site, at the bottom of the page, you’ll see a link that says “Dissatisfied? Help us improve” where you can provide a comment. Be sure to include the word “Caffeine” somewhere within your comment.