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In August of 2009 Matt Cutts and the Google team announced the then upcoming Caffeine update. In an interview with Web Pro News’ Mike McDonald, Matt puts the caffeine update on par with the Big Daddy update of 2005.
Now that Caffeine has been around for a couple years, I’m surprised that something so massive has been just a blip for many of my clients. Instead, everybody seems to be stressing out about the big bad Panda. However, the good news is as long as you are providing quality, relevant content, you won’t have anything to worry about.
Remember that Google is a business and their business (among other things) is search. This means Google wants to be and stay as relevant as possible. They are trying to kick out spammers, not awesome companies like yours!
Think of Google search as the biggest party of the year. You’ve bought your dress, you’ve rented the limo, and you are all set. Panda and Caffeine are like security keeping the trash out.
Panda makes sure you aren’t lazy and haven’t repeated things (duplicate content) over and over again. This can be a little tricky at the site coding level but for the most part it’s about repeating the same content at the page level. So, for this scenario Panda might approve your invitation, but require a jacket for the dress code. After a little tweaking, you’re perfectly fine. If you start to get loud and obnoxious (massive duplicate content) they will kick you out of the party. Note: duplicate content isn’t actually a Penalty in the eyes of Google but it will penalize (yup, lowercase p) by filtering out which page they deem most helpful/relevant. If your entire site is worthless they will find plenty of other big “P” Penalties to hit you with.
Caffeine is a little more substantial. And that’s because the caffeine update shifted the way that Google looks at content as a whole instead of just making sure you haven’t cheated in some way. Think of Caffeine as the red carpet – if you qualify you get the “red carpet treatment” straight to the top of search.
The brass tacks of Caffeine:
~ Sites that update frequently get more attention. You might have built the most amazing website EVER…but if it is static the Caffeine update will bury it. Updating content daily or weekly makes sure that Google knows you are actively posting new stuff.
~ Content that is timely takes precedence over content that is dated. This is the biggest difference in Caffeine – the real time update. This means that when you search for “Celebrity Deaths” Google assumes that you mean the latest celebrity deaths, not ones from 10 years ago. The same goes for all terms.
This is crucial for content writing because if something happens in your industry and you get fresh content up about it right away, you will find yourself dominating your industry key terms. Now, I’ll caution you that you don’t want to overstep too much. There have been many frankly shameful posts since Caffeine, people have tried to leverage this with completely ridiculous content. You should keep your content restricted to your industry, because at the end of the day it isn’t about traffic as much as the right type of traffic.
Remember that you don’t just want traffic, you want the right type of traffic. If a million people hit your site and none of them buy, who cares? It’s worthless traffic to you that actually hurts you in the long run. Remember also that Google tracks things like your bounce rates and time on site. If you make a post like the one above and rank for a ridiculously inappropriate term for your site, Google will lower your rankings across the board.
At the end of the day Google wants to stay relevant, which means you want to prove to Google you are relevant. Also, both Panda/Caffeine affect domain-wide. So if you show up to the party of the year, but bring in some trashy friends (spammy crap like the sample above) your whole party will deal with security.
Caffeine is also another reason to be active on social media. Interactive sites that have a lot of active social feeds do well. Which makes sense, right – social media makes you famous and who doesn’t like famous people at their party?
If you are struggling to get your site updated or you are searching for a content writer that can be on call for industry specific news, get in touch with me. Our content generation firm is happy to assist our current clients in timely, relevant content.