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Google Caffeine: how will it affect the rankings of your web pages?

Google Caffeine is the name given to Google's next algorithm update that is going live after the holidays. It seems that Google Caffeine will be more than Google's regular updates. It will probably be a major overhaul of the calculations that Google uses to rank web pages.

What is going to change?

Of course, Google hasn't revealed the details of Google Caffeine yet. However, the new index has been live on some test servers and some Google employees also talked about the next index. The following factors might play a larger role in Google's next index:

Website speed: if you have a slow loading website, it might not get high rankings on Google.


Broken links: if your website contains many broken links, this might have a negative impact of the position of your web pages in Google search results.


Bad neighborhoods: Linking to known spammers and getting a lot of links from known spammers isn't good for your rankings in Google's current algorithm. The negative impact of a bad neighborhood will probably be even worse with Google Caffeine.


The over-all quality of your website: Google's new algorithm probably will take a closer look at the over-all quality of your website. It's not enough to have one or two ranking factors in place.

You'll probably need good optimized content, a good website design with a clear navigation, good inbound links, a low bounce rate, etc. The number of social bookmarks might also play an increased role.
Factors like the age of a website, its past history, authority etc. will still play a role in Google's new index. However, the effect of the different factors on your rankings will shift.

How can you adjust your web pages to Google's new Caffeine index?

Although Google's Caffeine update hasn't been release yet, there are some things that you can do to increase the chances that your website will get good rankings in Google's new index:

Remove all spam elements from your web pages. Anything that might be considered spam can and will have a negative effect on the position of your web pages sooner or later. This includes text that has nearly the same color as the background, cloaking and fully automated linking systems.


Check your website design and the navigation of your website. Your website should have a professional look and feel. The navigation should be easy to understand and your web pages should easily be parseable by search engine spiders. You can test this with the search engine spider simulator in IBP (Select Tools > Search Engine Spider Simulator in IBP's main window).


Get links from social bookmark websites. Social bookmark links already play a role in Google's current algorithm and that role might increase.


Check your links. You shouldn't link to websites that look like spammers. It's better to focus on selected quality links instead of as many links as possible.
Google Caffeine is going to be released after the holidays. If you follow the tips above, your website will be in a good position when Google's new index will be online.


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December 2009 search engine articles