Report: A “Caffeine” Infusion Would Mean Ranking Changes On Google

Search and online marking firm 360i published findings from a small but structured test of how the “Caffeine” search infrastructure changes could affect results and ranking on Google. As Vanessa Fox wrote when Caffeine went public earlier this month, there apparently would be a number of changes in the ordering and content of results. As she observed in that post, “Google Caffeine will cause quite a kerfluffle in the web developer and search engine optimization world and many will dive in to try and figure out the changes.”

This is precisely what 360i has now tried to do. The company evaluated 40 retail-oriented keywords/searches to compare results before and after, and the potential SEO implications of Caffeine:

[A] sample set of 40 retail keywords. We looked at ten major retail brand names (keywords), ten retail head terms (single keywords), ten retail torso terms (two-word phrases) and ten retail long-tail phrases (four-word phrases) and compared the search results on the first three pages of both engines (standard Google and “Caffeinated” Google).

With the caveat that “everything could change” before Caffeine formally rolls out 360i offered six observations or “things to expect” if/when it does. Here they are:

  1. Domains and rankings will fluctuate.
  2. The index size, or “competition,” of single keyword search relevance will increase.
  3. You’ll see a boost in relevance for long-tail searches.
  4. You’ll get results (SERPs) in half the time, on average.
  5. Blended results will increase.
  6. There will be a social jolt.

To read the larger discussion of each of these takeaways go to the 360i blog post.

Related Topics: Channel: SEO | Google: General | Google: Universal Search | SEO: General

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About The Author: is a Contributing Editor at Search Engine Land. He writes a personal blog Screenwerk, about SoLoMo issues and connecting the dots between online and offline. He also posts at Internet2Go, which is focused on the mobile Internet. Follow him @gsterling.

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