What Google’s “Caffeine” Update Means For Paid Search Campaigns

Google recently announced that a massive operations overhaul is in the works. “Caffeine,” as it’s known internally, is described by Google’s Matt Cutts as primarily driven by “under the hood” changes to improve Google’s indexing technology, allowing the engine to be more flexible and efficient in the way it collects pages. He went on to say that while power-users may notice some minor changes to search result pages, no major user interface changes are to be expected with this update.

Based on Matt’s description of the algorithm changes, we shouldn’t expect to see vastly different search results in the short run. However, it sounds like Google is putting infrastructure in place to index web pages more quickly, be more effective in ranking real-time updates (from blogs and social media) and to provide more accurate local search results. These changes will remedy some of Google’s current shortcomings and put them in a unique position that over the long term could change the user experience significantly.

We all know that Google’s organic and paid search listings are two completely separate entities and your performance or lack thereof in one does not impact your standing in the other. While the upcoming update will directly impact organic search results, paid search managers should not completely write-off the update as insignificant to the PPC world.

Any change to Google’s algorithms, whether on the organic engine or in the AdWords platform, in one way or another will effect the user experience over time. In this case, as with previous algorithm updates, Google is pushing forth changes that may alter the mix of organic results.

Many have speculated that the Caffeine update is geared directly towards competing with recent moves made by Facebook (acquiring FriendFeed) and the rising popularity of Twitter’s real time search capabilities.

As a PPC manager, what should I do?

In almost all situations, any change brings some level of uncertainty and the Caffeine update is no exception. Thankfully for PPC managers the upcoming update should only affect the organic listings and will not directly alter cost-per-clicks in anyway. This however does not mean that PPC managers should ignore the “Caffeine Update”.

Most SEM managers have multiple responsibilities, including maintaining the SEO and PPC programs (not to mention affiliate and email marketing duties, etc..). A well-balanced SEM campaign often includes a strategic mix of SEO visibility complemented by PPC listings and vice versa. In some cases, SEM managers don’t feel the need to bid on certain terms due to outstanding organic visibility. Over the next few weeks, do yourself a favor and

Monitor your SERP positions closely

No one is 100% sure how the latest update will shakeout, so your best bet is to run a position report on key terms and watch for any fluctuations – not to mention the fact that it is a generally smart idea to track your SEO positions from time to time. If you are one of those mangers that have shied away from bidding on keywords (because you’ve felt that your SEO visibility is sufficient) you may want to start supplementing your organic efforts with PPC listings.

Google is responsible for the Lion’s share of traffic for many online businesses. While it’s great to have a reliable traffic source, it’s also extremely risky to rely so heavily on one source. To mitigate this dependency and in the spirit of reducing risk, diversify your SEM campaign (create campaigns on Yahoo, Microsoft adCenter as well as other niche vertical search engines like Business.com).

The next tip should go without saying, but paying attention to your competitors is also very important. I’m not suggesting that you increase bids simply because your competitor has (you should base bid-management decisions on CPA and ROI metrics). However, it is always useful to know how your competitors are reacting to changes in the market.

To summarize, with every change to the Google algorithm comes a level of uncertainty, and by taking proactive steps to monitor and minimize your risks, you will be in a better position to make smart decisions for your PPC accounts.

Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.

Related Topics: Channel: SEO | Features: Analysis | Google: AdWords | Google: SEO

Sponsored


About The Author: is an SEM Analyst for Clickable. He began his career in search marketing in 2003.

Connect with the author via: Email



SearchCap:

Get all the top search stories emailed daily!  

Share

Other ways to share:
 

Read before commenting! We welcome constructive comments and allow any that meet our common sense criteria. This means being respectful and polite to others. It means providing helpful information that contributes to a story or discussion. It means leaving links only that substantially add further to a discussion. Comments using foul language, being disrespectful to others or otherwise violating what we believe are common sense standards of discussion will be deleted. Comments may also be removed if they are posted from anonymous accounts. You can read more about our comments policy here.
  • http://www.tag44.com tag44

    Thanks for the post and for sharing the resourceful info at searchengineland.com

Get Our News, Everywhere!

Daily Email:

Follow Search Engine Land on Twitter @sengineland Like Search Engine Land on Facebook Follow Search Engine Land on Google+ Get the Search Engine Land Feed Connect with Search Engine Land on LinkedIn Check out our Tumblr! See us on Pinterest

 
 

Click to watch SMX conference video

Join us at one of our SMX or MarTech events:

United States

Europe

Australia & China

Learn more about: SMX | MarTech


Free Daily Search News Recap!

SearchCap is a once-per-day newsletter update - sign up below and get the news delivered to you!

 


 

Search Engine Land Periodic Table of SEO Success Factors

Get Your Copy
Read The Full SEO Guide