There has been a lot of buzz recently in the blogosphere about Google's new planned search architecture update codenamed "Caffeine". This new architecture has been designed to return results faster and to better deal with rapidly updated information from social media services including Facebook and Twitter. Google claims that the new search tool will improve the speed, accuracy, size, and comprehensiveness of Google search.
In the latter half of last year developers were given a preview opportunity to test out the new search architecture in the Google Caffeine Sandbox. Our initial testing showed that the new search update was very quick returning results in around half the time of the current setup. Other differences we noted was the impact upon search engine optimisation which seems to focus more on heavier keyword weighting and the importance of the domain's age.
So when is Google Caffeine going live?
There is a lot of speculation on blogs that Google Caffeine is live on around 80% of data centres. Unfortunately, there has been no official confirmation from Google yet that the new service is live, however some users will note a different Google search and results interface and some website owners will notice a shuffle in their rankings.
Ensuring your website does not lose its current ranking
We suggest that website owners and SEO specialists should take notice of Google’s rules in Webmaster Central to ensure they do not lose their rankings in the search results for major keywords. More specifically we suggest the following:
1. Do not copy other website’s copy. Google now checks for duplicate content and will penalise site’s with similar text content. Obviously, the website that has been online the most will contain the original content and won’t be penalised.
2. Do not duplicate the same content over and over again through doorway pages on the same domain. Your website may be flagged for duplicate content and you might lose significant positions for all your major keywords.
3. Do not hide keyword text or provide different results for Google other than what a normal user would see. Google has made it algorithm more sophisticated recently to catch out people who abuse the system. Exceptions to this rule can include tabbed content. As long as the content can be opened and closed by a user script this should not be a problem.
4. Do not link to suspected link farms or site’s which seem to be setup only for the purpose of obtaining a better Page Rank.
5. Do not Spam the Open Directory or Yahoo Directory with multiple listings for the same URL. Google does take into consideration whether a site is indexed with ODP and Yahoo and awards a higher weight for sites that have been included. Yahoo informs us that they are currently in the process of weeding out and penalising sites that have attempted to bypass their one URL policy. Those websites that have multiple listings in Yahoo may very soon find out that there domain has been permanently banned.
We advise all our clients to play by the rules. Yes there are unscrupulous SEO companies out there that will perform black hat techniques to get their client’s website to the top of Google, but for how long will their shady techniques last? I suspect not long as the major search companies perform ever more sophisticated checks to ensure the quality of their indexes. Matt Cutt’s from Google tells us that the single most important thing for webmasters to ensure good future rankings for their website in Google, is to provide high quality original and engaging content for their key audience. Sounds simple enough, doesn’t it?