Google Caffeine

Just before last week's SES conference Google announced the launch of their new caffeine infrastructure:

For the last several months, a large team of Googlers has been working on a secret project: a next-generation architecture for Google's web search. It's the first step in a process that will let us push the envelope on size, indexing speed, accuracy, comprehensiveness and other dimensions. The new infrastructure sits "under the hood" of Google's search engine, which means that most users won't notice a difference in search results. But web developers and power searchers might notice a few differences, so we're opening up a web developer preview to collect feedback.

In the new infrastructure so far I think there is...

  • an increased weighting on domain authority & some authoritative tag type pages ranking (like Technorati tag pages + Facebook tag pages), as well as pages on sites like Scribd ranking for some long tail queries based mostly on domain authority and sorta spammy on page text
  • perhaps slightly more weight on exact match domain names
  • perhaps a bit better understanding of related words / synonyms
  • tuning down some of the exposure for video & some universal search results

You can check out the new results here and offers side by side comparisons of new Google + old Google - similar to the recent blind search service which compared Google, Yahoo!, & Bing results.

As highlighted by Matt Cutts, the aim of the infrastructure change is to allow further evolution of if you analyze the results a bunch now then what you are aiming for might look quite different than the search results which appear in November.

An article in The Register offers background info on Google Caffeine, and additional analysis has been done by David Naylor and Bill Hartzer.

This WMW thread mentions some relevant background on Google's approach to storage. In his post on the update John Andrews mentioned how smaller chunking of data could allow the algorithms to make SEO more challenging (or at least more holistic):

Smaller chunks means faster SERP generation…. and possibly more specific quality management (smaller more specific binning of URLs if desired) How this plays out for SEO is interesting now… and especially whether or not we will be able to influence various aspects independently from the whole.

The ROI on effective SEO campaigns is simply unbelievable, and Google is going to do everything in their power to diminish the ROI of algorithmically focused optimization efforts. As the cost of memory drops and the algorithms improve, the next couple years might separate the men from the boys in the SEO space. Those improvements will drive many SEO practitioners into parallel fields like niche publishing and public relations. 5 years ago was the perfect time to start building your empire. But starting today is far better than starting tomorrow.

Published: August 16, 2009 by Aaron Wall in google


August 16, 2009 - 8:22pm

Thumbs up for the guys who knocked up that compare caffine site, it makes testing your keyword portfolio a lot quicker.

August 16, 2009 - 9:18pm

I'd like to hear more of this. I've always been interested in seeing the bots become better readers. I put a lot of care in my work to make sure that I've used keywords in all forms of usage (noun, verb, adjective, adverb). I work in related words as much as possible, not just because it helps the long-tail SERPs, but because it makes for better reading.

I will be very happy if my efforts in this linguistic area pay off even more with caffeine.

August 16, 2009 - 11:25pm

I tried the Blind Search tool for ten terms and consistently picked Google. Only thought one of the other engines produced decent results two out of those ten times and both times it was Yahoo!--Bing is still just as bad as Windows Live and MSN were.

August 19, 2009 - 4:20pm

Saw it on Digg about a week ago.

August 25, 2009 - 9:19pm

I used the tool to see what effect it would have on some of client's rankings. In almost every case, I saw a mild to often dramatic increase in positioning for most key terms. Not sure how or why but I am anxious for the Caffeine release..On another note, the SERPS did seem to come back more quickly. Current Google results are fast but I did see a noticeable difference with this update. You can test drive it yourself at

October 9, 2009 - 11:02am

I think this is not a very good news for an SEO professionals.

Because a long time, we have been in accordance with the previous google search rules to optimize their own websites, time accumulated,and now we have very good rankings.

But I and my many friends say,the new search so that our rankings have dropped significantly.In the next time we need to google to learn the new rules.But in this period of time, our sales will surely decline. I do not know anybody's ranking in the new search was still good or have some improve?

While the new search is helpful to users,it's a new development and challenges for us,but if the emphasis is designed to deal with bing,and it's too ridiculous.

February 19, 2010 - 8:49pm

Quick freebie for fellow SEO pros: Just posted a Python snippet to ease the tracking woes in this bold, new personalized search world. I'd post it here, but Python, in all its glory, is whitespace sensitive and may not paste so well here. Instead, follow through to this location:

February 20, 2010 - 9:52am

thanks for sharing Cody

Add new comment

(If you're a human, don't change the following field)
Your first name.
(If you're a human, don't change the following field)
Your first name.
(If you're a human, don't change the following field)
Your first name.