In August 2009 Google famously changed their algorithm and how they value current events, but different from the 2003 Florida update this change to how they value content and display search results seamed to roll out rather peacefully and in some cases unnoticed.
I have been monitoring how this has changed the search engine and it seems that the Google Caffeine update is to putting growing prominence on real-time search within search results. Specifically on Twitter and other real-time communication tools.
This might explain a post on Search Engine Land that the Caffeine update really had not been rolled out fully and is slowly being implemented throughout Google’s data centres.
But what did this update incorporate? First and foremost it was Google keeping their competitors away, there was a lot of buzz about Twitter’s real-time search options and Microsoft had just rolled out their “decision making search engine” Bing. Real-time search was the thing and Google needed to come out with an update and that they did.
Google had some years back introduced their Google Universal search, were they mixed together various results on their organic results pages, when searching on a topic you could find various channels such as web, blog, news, shop, PPC, image and video being mixed together. What Google did with the Caffeine update was to take this even further and put more emphasis on current events and blend them with the more tradition results in a kind of a “ticker style” where things happened in a more dynamic way.
What they also did with this update was to take the emphasis slightly of inbound links (still very important) and put on good copy, other things we have noticed but I am not sure if we can directly relate to this update is the emphasis on URL’s, that is the text between the www and the .TLD/ccTLD.
According to this update two companies in the same industry, let’s say car rental, one has an URL with their brand in it such as www.alp.is has a handicap when compared with a car rental URL like www.carrentals.is.
Having car rental in the URL gives the later URL more chance of visibility, one more box ticked in how Google values that URL. My research has however shown that Google has a limit on how it values the URL so something like “verycheaprentalcarsreykjavik.is” are likely to rise a spam alert, prompting a Google rep to manually review the site for spam tactics or even worse Google just demoting the site or even removing it from it’s index.
There is a massive opportunity for marketers to look pass their traditional emphasis on their own site but also to use Twitter, blogs, online press releases and other channels that can provide an alternative option to visibility based on how Google now places emphasis on current events.