I have not really ever written about Google Caffeine. This was deliberate as I wanted to see how it panned out. And well… it seems to have done exactly what Google said it would i.e. provide a better and more up to date way for them to index. This brings all sort of advancements, but the main one is speed. Quicker indexing, quicker response, etc.
Did Google Caffeine change things for us greatly? No, not really, but the landscape has changed for Google to build upon, which is the part that does change things a great deal.
Tried Google Instant yet? Now that is a big change for all of us. Instant was in many ways made possible by the Caffeine update and it will greatly affect the way we access Google’s search results. Add this to the personalisation elements that have been happening for the last few years and the way we search and, most importantly, what we choose to access once we have searched has changed a great deal in this time frame.
Try Google Instant for yourself (currently you need to be signed in to your Google account). Did you type less? Did you type more? Did the top results that occurred half way through your query help you? Did it alter the way you typed the rest of the query? Will you turn Google Instant off? Did you use the suggested search less or more? What did you click on? Lots of questions and all of the answers can change each time we search.
Anything that changes the way we search will clearly affect those people who have a view on how best to affect the way Google orders their results. But that is it, we in the SEO world try to affect the way Google orders its results and not how people search. We can never affect that.
So for me Caffeine was and is always something that I had to watch and learn from, not worry about. The May Day update was the big news that happened around the time Caffeine was launched because that directly affected the way I need to think about SEO. As long as Google delivered Caffeine in the way it was meant to happen (with no mess ups that affected search results) then I was and still am prepared to watch how things develop. Sure, quicker results, quicker indexing, more ways to slice and dice the results (Instant), more pages indexed, but nothing that should affect the order of results.
Will Instant change what gets clicked? Yes. Can you affect it from an SEO perspective? No. Can I learn from it over time? Yes.
Oh, and by the way, I am only taking about SEO here. PPC? That is a totally different matter… Head term guys, watch your budgets and ROI! Remember Google search is all about being the best and getting ads clicked. If you view every change through these eyes life becomes far less complicated.
Lastly, tried Google Realtime yet? Caffeine at work again.