Yesterday’s announcement by Google that the Caffeine update is finally complete didn’t make much of a dent in the news of the world, but it’s actually pretty darn impressive when you look at the stats supplied by Google on the implications. It was almost a year ago that the Caffeine update was first announced as a new way of indexing the flood of information that continues to be posted to the web each and every day, and if you cast your mind back aways, you can’t deny that new information is making its way more quickly to search results.
There’s plenty of good to be said about that. Updates to your site get indexed quicker and therefore available to be found by searchers more quickly. New sites get found quicker. Real-time updates become a reality. Social media updates can be searched and found rapidly. Heck, even the news items announcing the completion of the update are already indexed and come up on searches on Google for “caffeine update.”
Here’s some stats that Google provided that puts it in perspective:
“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.”
But there’s a caution that comes with “search on caffeine” — it’s even more imperative that you take care when creating and changing a website and its content. You can no longer count on a safety net of sorts in the form of a delay of days or weeks before your changes are indexed and therefore available for viewing. If your work is full of errors, you risk becoming prey to that old saying that “you never get a second chance to make a [good] first impression.” Searchers who see your site in a state of disarray may not come back when you’ve dotted all your “i”s and crossed all your “t”s, so be sure to get it right the first time. More fundamentally, Google’s commitment to relevant results has never been stronger, nor has its ability to ferret out link farms and spammy content. The quicker it can be identified as spam, the faster it can be removed from the index. Even without Caffeine being an algorithmic change, its focus on relevancy will change ranking results.
Think I’ll go have a cup of coffee.