SEO, Social Media, Google Caffeine and Web Development Priorities

By HTMLGoodies Staff

Google's search engine functionality is changing, and the technology behind that change is being called "Caffeine". Its "real time search" results include social networking site results, and this is causing businesses to reevaluate their social networking web development projects and policies.

Caffeine, which was announced by Google last year and implemented this month, includes improvements that are not immediately noticable by web surfers, (except for the increased speed of returned search result listings) but the impact on website rankings has been anticipated and is already causing some sites to suffer ranking losses, while others have used the changes to improve their search engine ranking through the use of social networking services, which are now included in Google's real time search results.

Profile updates, blogs and status updates from the leading social networks such as MySpace, Twitter, Yahoo! Answers and Facebook began appearing in Google's real time results in December of 2009. These real time search results usually show up in the top rankings for the keyword or phrase that is searched, making them prime rankings, and developers and businesses are digging deep to learn the secrets that get those results to the top of the listings.

With Caffeine, linking also counts. Not just any links, but links from sites or users that have a valued reputation, similar to Google's PageRank technology. Google describes PageRank, a term they have trademarked, as a search technology that "relies on the uniquely democratic nature of the web by using its vast link structure as an indicator of an individual page's value.

With social networking sites and real time search, Google uses that same concept, taken a bit more literally. It looks for a social networking member's friends, followers and fans. As established members follow (link to) other members, the value of that "link" is taken into account by Google's ranking engine, which leads to the linked site being listed higher in the search engine's results pages.

Scott Moir, founder of Irbtrax, an SEO marketing rescearch company, recently remarked that these real time results are becoming much more important to websites, businesses and web developers, stating that "Google Caffeine and its real-time search feature uniquely combines the science of SEO with the art of social media. It's a great outline for internet marketing companies seeking to achieve optimal results for their clients."

Aside from the real time search technologies of Google's Caffeine, site loading time is of premium concern. Slow loading RSS feeds, widgets, Flash applications and images may bring your site down a notch, or 200 notches, as it were. Now is the time to re-evaluate their use on your site, at least on important pages, as well as increasing your site or company's presence and contributions on social networking sites, or your search engine rankings may suffer as a result.

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