Google Caffeine - decaf or caffeinated

Posted on Aug 18th 2009

On Monday, August 10, Google made an unusual announcement by pre-warning the world about changes to its organic search algorithm. Matt Cuts, Principal Engineer, and Sitaram Lyer, Staff Software Engineer of Google's Webmaster's blog, announced a large team of Googlers have been working on a secret project: a next-generation architecture for Google’s web search. So what does this mean for Hotels and Resorts in Australia when Google is responsible for approximately 70% of  their website traffic?

Let’s look at what we know about this change.

To build a great web search engine, you need to:

  1. Crawl a large chunk of the web.
  2. Index the resulting pages and compute how creditable those pages are.
  3. Rank and return the most relevant pages for users' queries as quickly as possible.

To follow is an interview on the Google Caffeine update with Matt Cutts, Google Engineer, speaking with Mike McDonald of WebProNews at the Search Engines strategies 2009 Conference and Expo in San Jose.


Matt Cutts has made it perfectly clear that this is merely an effort to upgrade the software sitting behind its search engine, however he also hinted on further evolution of search, so what will search results look like once Caffeine has been online for a few months?

We believe there will be more weight on domain authority. This will include more weight on tag pages on social media sites such as Facebook. It may also mean there will be more weight given to domain names matching the exact search i.e. domain names including the searched keywords.

Google has released a Sandbox search tool providing the ability to check out new search results once the Caffeine update is live You can also use to compare new search results with old (or current) search results served by Google. 

Using to compare results for the search term 'Gold Coast Accommodation', on first glance I am happy with the new results; one of my sites has jumped from 6th to 4th position. When I take a closer look, Google seems to be missing half of its database, 50,400,000 search results using the old tool, compared to 25,800,000 in Caffeine. Does this mean 25 million other websites have now been dropped from the index? I hope so :) , although don't think that is likely. Maybe the sandbox tool is only using a portion of the real index. Check the search results here for yourself.

We will post more information as it comes to hand. If you have performed a test search and are worried about your results please do not hesitate to contact us.

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