By now, most people in the web industry have heard of Caffeine, Google’s latest update to their search engine.  Basically, Caffeine promises to increase the speed, accuracy, and comprehensiveness of search results.  In August, Google released a developer’s preview of Caffeine to get user feedback, asking people to compare and contrast Caffeine’s new features with Google’s current search engine.  With a large majority of the feedback being positive, Google is set to release Caffeine early this year, which means webmasters and SEO professionals will have to make some adjustments to how they optimize and market their sites.

From results and information gathered via the developer’s preview, Caffeine’s updated algorithm appears to place more emphasis on keyword and subject relevancy when ranking websites.  With its goal of increasing speed, Caffeine also looks to place more emphasis on site load times.  This means flash objects, videos, content, etc. will all need to be optimized to load as quickly as possible.

For general search inqueries, Caffeine looks to serve up more social media and news results, while more specific keyword searches will return more website results – not to mention more advertising shelf space!  This should affect the way webmasters and SEO professionals approach content creation and promotion, gearing certain articles, blog posts, and press releases to various outlets to get the most bang for the buck.

Caffeine also looks to place even more emphasis on regular content creation and site updates.  Content creation has long been an important part of Google’s algorithm, but Caffeine appears to place an increased importance here.  That means all of those old, static sites sitting at the top of the SERPS will have to starting producing some fresh, relevant content if they want to stay at the top.  For sites who blog regularly and make updates often, maintaining this will only help your site out even more.

The look, feel, and overall user experience when searching on Google will not change very much.  The real changes promise to be "under the hood", and should return more personalized results to users much more quickly than before.  Google is currently working on introducing Caffeine to users very slowly, one data center at a time, rather than a full system roll-out.  If they haven’t already, webmasters and SEO professionals should begin preparing their optimization approach to align with these new updates.

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