February 23, 2010

Google Caffeine and SEO


Hostway Team

By Melissa J Luther

In August 2009, Google’s Webmaster Central Blog called on Webmasters to help test a “next-generation architecture for Google’s Web search,” called Caffeine. At the same time, Matt Cutts, engineer at Google, spoke with WebProNews describing Caffeine as a new, more powerful and flexible way to index more Web pages faster.

What does Caffeine mean for your Web Site and your SEO efforts?

That will likely depend on how well you have been keeping up with evolving SEO practices. Unfortunately, it appears most Webmasters have not kept up, as Jackson Online News reported recently, citing a study by Ibtrax that found most business Web sites unprepared for Caffeine.

Google recommends you go to http://code.google.com/speed where it discusses load speed factors and offers free tools to test your site.

What Should You Focus On?

Google's main goal still is to provide searchers with the best information related to their search, and your goal should always be to provide that information with a good user experience. Do this with:

  • Good Content: Content will always reign supreme. Visitors and search engines both like fresh, relevant, well-written content. A blog is an easy way to provide current news and updates related to your products and services. Post on a regular schedule.
  • Meta Title and Description Tags (MTDT): Good MTDT tell both the search engines and searchers what is on each page. Make the tags on each page unique and descriptive
  • Links: Both inbound and outbound links are important.
    • Inbound: As always, links to your site are a vote of confidence in your site. Quality matters, so focus on high-quality, relevant sites. Think directories, resource and news sites and industry specific sites.
    • Outbound: Your Web site does not provide all the information your visitors could ever want about your subject. Provide additional value with links to other high-quality sites.
  • Fast-loading Pages: As its name implies, Caffeine likes speed. So do human visitors, who tend to get impatient with sites that make them wait.
  • Universal Search: Also called blended search, this refers to listing not only text-based pages, but news, video, images, local, blog, shopping and book searches. Google has been doing this since 2007, but Caffeine appears to be adding social media to the mix and placing greater emphasis on real-time and local searching.

You’ll note that universal search means your business must appear in as many relevant places as possible, so it’s time to reevaluate your entire Internet presence. Freshen up your local business center listings, Facebook business page, industry-specific business profiles and your LinkedIn profile. Use Twitter to keep your customers updated on relevant news. If you don’t have these things, create them now. Make sure everything links back to relevant pages on your Web site.

The Internet has evolved to create nearly unlimited ways to get your message out. Now Google Caffeine wants to return the best, most relevant results from all these sources to ensure searchers find exactly what they are looking for. Get your business ready by creating and strengthening its presence in all the right places.

About the Author

Melissa J Luther, owner and founder of LookSee Information Solutions LLC, helps small businesses create and maintain a strong online presence. She takes a multi-channel approach, with a well-optimized Web site as the center of an online presence that includes content creation, PPC advertising, linking and social media as appropriate.

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