Hotel Online
News for the Hospitality Executive

O'Rourke Hospitality


Will Google Caffeine Affect my Hotel SEO?

Google just recently opened up a preview of their infrastructure update called “Caffeine”.
Caffeine is the first step in the process of creating ‘a next-generation architecture’ for Google Search.  Matt Cutts, a Google engineer, discusses Caffeine on his own blog in a video interview with Mike McDonald. As Matt explains, “It tries to be a lot more powerful, a lot more flexible, and a lot more robust in how we index, so that lets you in theory scale up to a lot more documents, but also lets you index those documents a lot faster.”
All of the changes have been made behind-the-scenes, so Google will not appear any different to you. What may change is some of the search results. However many people won’t even notice much of a difference here either. The people who may notice the results are web developers and ‘power searchers’.
You can experiment with a preview of the new infrastructure yourself by visiting Conduct some searches and see what you think. Google is also collecting feedback which will be read by the engineers. To submit your feedback click on the link, at the bottom of the search results page, that says “Dissatisfied? Help us improve”.
We wanted to compare the differences for ourselves, so we conducted a search on ‘Bed and Breakfast Newport RI’ on both the regular Google and on the preview of the Caffeine Google. In the beginning there didn’t appear to be too many differences, however a closer scrutiny revealed some changes. The first screenshot is from the preview of the Caffeine Google and the second is of the regular Google.
The Caffeine Google pulled up more search results with 147,000 as opposed the regular Google which displayed 102,000 results. Another important factor is the difference in the time it took to display the results. The Caffeine Google seems to win here as well with .12 seconds as opposed to the .31 seconds from the regular Google. However the time difference doesn’t seem that consistent as some searches revealed it was actually slower than the regular Google.

More importantly, we looked at the difference in the order that the hotel listings were displayed on the search engine results pages of Google. Below is screenshot of the first page of the regular Google (left side) and the Caffeine Google (right side) on the same search query ‘bed and breakfast Newport RI’. The first 3 or 4 listings were the same but then the order started to change.

Of course only Google knows all the details on the infrastructure updates, but there is a lot of speculation of what Google is trying to change. Many people believe that Google Caffeine will be better at crawling social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook. Some think that because Google Caffeine can crawl the web faster that it may change its Page Rank system to give more emphasis on ‘votes’ for other factors apart from back links. Some think that the changes were in response to the release of Microsoft’s ‘Bing’ although Google says Caffeine was in the works before Bing was launched.
In the video, Mike McDonald asked Matt Cutts if the updates involved changes to the semantics or real-time trends and this was Matt’s response. “This (updates) builds a very powerful foundation for any changes we want to do in indexing. It gives you a lot more flexibility and power in how you handle an incoming document and how it gets indexed and then sent out so we can search over it. So whether its more targeted for real-time or for semantics is not as much as just getting a really good infrastructure in place where we can run all that really quickly.”
So the big question is, ‘How will caffeine affect my hotel’s current SEO standing?’ Really it is too early to say. It could be for the better, or slightly worse, or perhaps it won’t affect your position at all. When Matt Cutts was asked in the interview if the Caffeine changes would really shake up the results sets, he answered that Google was shooting to try to get the result sets close.
Caffeine is still being developed and the changes will not be implemented from one day to another, rather it will be a gradual transition, and changes may be made according to the feedback Google receives. Here at O’Rourke we are watching the evolving industry trends in SEO closely and we adapt our strategies to any changes with the aim of getting your hotel website high rankings and high visibility.
If you would like to learn more about SEO strategies for your hotel please feel free to call us at 978-465-5955 or write an email to


O’Rourke Hospitality Marketing
44 Merrimac Street
MA 01950

Also See: Don’t Hide From Trip Advisor Reviews! / August 2009

5 Ways Hotels can Improve and Track Return on Investment from Twitter – Oh wait, there is no investment! / August 2009

Leverage Blended Search and Boost your Hotel’s Search Ranking Position / August 2009

How to Optimize Your Hotel Website for Natural Search / August 2009

To search Hotel Online data base of News and Trends Go to Hotel.OnlineSearch
Home | Welcome| Hospitality News | Classifieds| Industry Resources | Press Releases
Please contact Hotel.Onlinewith your comments and suggestions.