On Aug. 10, Google announced Caffeine, suggesting a shift in the Google algorithm. Matt Cutts, the head of Google's webspam team, indicated Caffeine is basically a rewrite of the search index, roughly comparable to the Big Daddy upgrade of 2005-2006.
The once hush-hush project is supposed to revitalize the Google algorithm to provide users with a better search experience. The official word is that the update is "the first step in a process that will let us push the envelope on size, indexing speed, accuracy, comprehensiveness, and other dimensions."
Based on that, it sounds like we'll get faster indexing speeds, with more pages indexed and a more comprehensive search results page -- necessary advances as the web becomes more unwieldy. For search marketers, it means more competition for single, generic-type keywords, less stability of rankings, and an increased focus on long-tail keywords as they become more relevant to sales conversions.
That's all good news if your website is well ranked for your best keywords. If not, it's time to optimize now. Make sure your site conforms to Google's new infrastructure to avoid any loss of rankings.
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