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Need a Caffeine boost? After much anticipation and discussion, Google's latest 'big update' is officially here.

Unlike many major Google updates, which include alterations to the factors Google uses to rank pages, Caffeine instead represents an update to Google's web indexing system. The result: Google says Caffeine "provides 50 percent fresher results for web searches than our last index."

Google software engineer Carrie Grimes explained what Caffeine is about on the Official Google Blog:

With Caffeine, we analyze the web in small portions and update our search index on a continuous basis, globally. As we find new pages, or new information on existing pages, we can add these straight to the index. That means you can find fresher information than ever before—no matter when or where it was published.

Caffeine lets us index web pages on an enormous scale. In fact, every second Caffeine processes hundreds of thousands of pages in parallel. If this were a pile of paper it would grow three miles taller every second. Caffeine takes up nearly 100 million gigabytes of storage in one database and adds new information at a rate of hundreds of thousands of gigabytes per day. You would need 625,000 of the largest iPods to store that much information; if these were stacked end-to-end they would go for more than 40 miles.

Google sees Caffeine as being crucial to its ability to "build an even faster and comprehensive search engine that scales with the growth of information online" but it's one major update that will have little direct impact on SEOs. According to Vanessa Fox of Search Engine Land, "Google told me that this change doesn’t make any of the crawling, indexing, or ranking factors more or less important than before. It simply makes crawled content available in search results more quickly than before..."

That will be music to the ears of many SEOs. If Google is being honest, there's not really much you can -- or need -- to do when it comes to adapting to Caffeine. If you're doing right by your SEO, Google will do right by you, just more quickly perhaps.

The catch: Caffeine might very well have an impact on your position in the SERPs at some point in the future. While Caffeine is focused on indexing in and of itself, it provides Google with the ability to collect a lot more metadata about the documents it indexes, and it would be surprising if Google didn't look to apply that metadata in some fashion to the SERPs down the road.

Of course, SEOs aren't likely to get too comfortable. Even if Caffeine won't have an immediate impact on rankings, Google is still performing other updates as usual. So the only refreshing thing about Caffeine is that such a major update will cause so few headaches.

Photo credit: israelavila via Flickr.

Patricio Robles

Published 9 June, 2010 by Patricio Robles

Patricio Robles is a tech reporter at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter.

2380 more posts from this author

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Jedivid

I spent two weeks on holiday drinking coffee full strength with caffine.  To find out to my expense.  That when I started back drinking decaf  I had maor headaches for 5 days.  So having a boost may not be so good for me.

about 6 years ago

Clinton Mancer

Clinton Mancer, Director at Integrati Marketing

Great up-date gives 'precendece' to page age/meta + relevance!

This is overdue and bring on the imporatnace of RFDa!!!

Cheers, Integrati marketing.

about 6 years ago

John Courtney

John Courtney, CEO and Executive Chairman at Pay on Results SEO, Content Marketing, Social Media, Digital PR, PPC & CRO from Strategy Digital

Making crawled content available quicker is fine by us and our clients.

about 6 years ago

Matthew Phelan

Matthew Phelan, Director and Co-Founder at 4Ps Marketing

Music to my ears. Steps forward by search engines to give more up to date results along with the social media revolution is positive for all of us as consumers whether we come from SEO, PPC, affiliate, SMO, Email, Mars, Jupiter, Web design etc etc

about 6 years ago

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Laura Jennings

Sounds good to me. More efficient and more concise crawling will hopefully mean that new pages get indexed quicker and the waiting game becomes shorter.

about 6 years ago

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Manisha

its a good signs.Hoping we'll get more real time results.Now its time to work on SMO also along with SEO.

about 6 years ago

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my-webdesigner.com

I did not notice any impact of the new algorithm. As usual, Google takes a bit to index newly created homepages or webplattforms and realize recent changes.

about 6 years ago

Stephen Logan

Stephen Logan, Senior Copywriter at Koozai

After all the hearsay surrounding Caffeine, it really seems like a positive move from Google. Obviously it will benefit high output sites with decent PageRank the most, but faster indexing of content can only be a good thing. After all the fuss, it seems the Mayday algorithm update had more of a direct impact on sites anyway. They are slowly inching towards full real-time though, what next I wonder?

about 6 years ago

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approachnet

If it means content will get indexed faster, I'm all for it! It also seems like staying on page #1 for a keyword will require fresh content more often in the near future.

about 6 years ago

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adrianyearwood

Great update - 

With the recent inlcusionof real time data re twitte rinto the google search its no supprise to see Google doign its best to update its results from general websites quick.  

I often say Natural search is strategic and Paid  search is tactical... updates of this nature bring them closer together.

The result: Google says Caffeine "provides 50 percent fresher results for web searches than our last index."

The next interesting thing to read, is exactly how much quicker this update is in the real world... 

about 6 years ago

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Edinburgh Web design

Defo great that such a big change has such little impact (at this stage). Google is always working on their algorithm  though...

about 6 years ago

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redd-emedia solutions

i hope this works well cause i have seen people die of oldage waiting for pagerank.

about 6 years ago

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Les

Its been almost two months since introduction of Caffeine, and honestly I am disappointed. While for short keywords on popular topics Google indeed brings up the most relevant and fresh results, when it comes to long tailed keywords Google is lost.  It is so lost, that in the first time of my life I considered switching to another search engine.

Back in times, before Caffeine was introduced, the search results of long tailed keywords were spammed with affiliate marketing websites. However, back then you could still easily find the information you were looking for. Forums were the major provider of such a content.

Nowadays, ironically, Google in its fight against affiliate marketers did the exact opposite. It killed the forums and left affiliates on top. Moreover, it left the irrelevant affiliates on top. C'mon Google, you can do better.

about 6 years ago

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Thomas

Things have changed. Is SEO no longer the way to go? Or you have to pay the search engines to get better listings?

over 3 years ago

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