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What is Google Caffeine?

Google Caffeine was a major update that improved the freshness of the pages served in search results. The update allowed Google to index webpages faster, allowing it to display them in search results soon after they were published or updated. 

Google replaced its old indexing system with Caffeine. Unlike the old system, which required several weeks to display new or updated content in search results, Caffeine updates continuously, allowing Google to show new and updated content in search results quicker than it previously did. 

Google announced the completion of the Caffeine update in a blog post published on June 9, 2010. In the blog post, Google mentioned that Caffeine allowed it to deliver 50% fresher results than the old indexing system. 

Why Google Caffeine is Important

The Google Caffeine update is important because it allows Google to refresh the search results page quicker than it previously did. 

When you enter a search query into Google, Google does not display the live webpage on the search results page. Instead, it displays the page in its index, which is a database where Google stores content it wants to display on search results pages.

Now, the page on the search results page will appear as it did when Google crawled and added it to its index. While such content could be the same as that on the live site, it would be different if the blogger had updated the page after Google’s last crawl and index.

However, considering Google’s older indexing system typically indexed pages at a slower pace than Caffeine, Google’s index typically contained an earlier and outdated version of the webpage displayed on search results pages.

Google released the Caffeine update to address this. Caffeine allows Google to index pages quicker, making it possible for Google to display the most current version of a webpage on search results pages

Difference between Caffeine and Google’s previous Index

Google’s previous index categorized sites into layers, depending on how frequently Google thought they needed to be refreshed. 

The sites that Google thought needed to be refreshed more frequently were in one layer, the ones that needed less refresh were in another layer, the ones that required even lesser refresh were in another layer, and it went on like that.

As a result, some sites were crawled and indexed more frequently than others, depending on their category. 

While this system benefited sites that were frequently crawled, it also meant that many sites were crawled and indexed less often, irrespective of how frequently they were updated. Some sites even waited a few weeks before their content was crawled and indexed. 

This led to Google serving older versions of webpages on search results pages. 

Caffeine changed the way Google indexed webpages. Unlike the previous system, caffeine no longer split sites into categories. It also crawled and indexed the web in smaller bits, allowing Google to serve new and updated pages on search results faster. 

SEO effects of the Google Caffeine Update

Google Caffeine had little effect on site rankings. This is not very surprising, considering it was an update to Google’s indexing infrastructure and not its ranking algorithm.

On August 10, 2009, Google published a blog post announcing the upcoming Caffeine update. Google described it as the first stage of a process that would allow it to improve the speed at which it indexed webpages and deliver accurate and comprehensive results to searchers. 

Google then requested web developers and advanced Google users to participate in its web developer preview program, where they could access results from the Caffeine index and compare them against the old index in use at the time. 

Google mentioned that regular users would not notice changes between the old index and Caffeine, but web developers and advanced Google users were likely to notice a few changes. They could then provide Google with feedback about the search results page. 

Benefits of the Google Caffeine Update

Google Caffeine introduced new capabilities to Google search results. These include:

  • Real-time indexing
  • Larger index size 
  • Enhanced crawling

Real-Time Indexing: Caffeine allowed Google to index new content on the web in real-time, sometimes minutes after it was updated. This ensured that searchers could access the latest information faster than before.

Larger Index Size: Caffeine enabled Google to process and store different types of web content. In particular, Google mentioned that caffeine would allow it to better index more content types, including images and videos. 

Enhanced Crawling: Caffeine improved Google’s crawling capabilities, allowing it to discover and index content more effectively. It allowed Google to crawl and index hundreds of thousands of pages every second. 

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