Google today announced the release of their new search index, called Caffeine.
This is not an update to their existing system but rather a completely new system.
The biggest change with Caffeine is that Google no longer separates the indexing of the web from the updating of search engine results. The previous Google index would crawl the entire web (or close to it) and store the results in a massive series of databases. Periodically, this stored index would then be used to update the search engine results. This resulted in a noticeable delay in getting new sites indexed and changes noted.
The new system will crawl the web in chunks and offer near immediate updating of the search engine results. News sites, twitter feeds, blogs etc will all be crawled with more frequency and the results made live very, very quickly. Web sites with rapidly changing content will also be noted and crawled with more frequency.
So the big question is “what does Google Caffeine mean to site owners?”
Essentially this is yet another instance of Google catching up to what they have been telling us for a long time. For the past few years Google has been hammering webmasters with the claim that they value fresh, relevant content over static, irrelevant, or downright neglected sites. While their actual index algorithm sometimes said otherwise, it appears that Caffeine is the proof of their intentions.
In short, this new release by Google means that the focus on well-maintained, constantly updated sites is finally here. While there has been no announcement regarding the level of preference Google will show fresh content in the search engine results, common-sense would dictate that the algorithm behind the system will be more heavily weighted towards the ‘new’. If anyone has noticed the new tools and ‘side wiki’ on Google’s search pages, you’ll see that they are making a real push to be more useful at finding social media updates, twitter updates, etc.
So finally, let’s look at what you can do to harness the power of this new index.
- Include some content on your page that updates with some regularity. This can be a blog, a ‘latest news’ feature or a rotating content section.
- Make sure that your site uses a sitemap, that it is properly formatted and is updated as your content changes.
- Harness the freshness of other sites. If your site is listed in Google Business Center, Yelp or other highly rated directories, make sure that your site links directly to your page on these sites. This will help Google note the most useful updates on multiple sites as quickly as possible.
- Share your updated content with the world via twitter, LinkedIn or facebook pages.