Google Caffeine: The Winners and Losers

2 minute read

When Google releases new products or updates to existing products they usually do so with very little warning. One day it’s just there. Google recently announced that it was going to release major changes to their search engines.

Unlike other updates which Google has completed a preview of these new search results can be found at and the new change has been nicknamed Caffeine

The results are for the US but you can manually add &gl=au to the end of the query string to get Australian specific results. Now it goes without saying that this is obviously not the final version as they would have released it if it was ready.

I ran through some major real estate searches just to see what the overall effect will be among the major portals and real estate groups. I have only checked the first page for each keyword and if there are no more changes to Caffeine before its launched it appears on a national level at least that Myhome will be the biggest winner and Domain the biggest loser.

Keyword Google Caffeine Google
Estate 1st 2nd
Domain 3rd
Propertynow 4th
Realestateview 7th
First National 8th
Google Real Estate 10th 1st 2nd
Domain 3rd
Propertynow 4th
Realestateview 6th
First National 7th 8th
Estate 2nd 3rd 8th 9th
Domain 4th
Myhome 5th 2nd 3rd 8th 9th
Domain 5th
Myhome 7th
Estate 1st 2nd 10th
McGrath 3rd
Domain 4th 5th
Myhome 6th
Justlisted 8th
First National 9th 1st 2nd
Domain 3rd 4th
McGrath 5th
Myhome 6th
Justlisted 7th
First National 8th
Estate 1st 2nd
Myhome 4th
First National 8th
RealEstate View 9th
Domain 10th 1st 2nd
Domain 3rd 4th
Myhome 7th
First National 8th
RealEstate View 10th
Domain 10th
Estate 1st 2nd
Aussiehome 3rd
Myhome 4th
Professionals 6th 1st 2nd 9th
Aussiehome 3rd
Domain 4th
Myhome 5th
Justlisted 7th
Professionals 8th
Estate 1st 2nd 5th 7th
Myhome 3rd
Domain 8th 1st 2nd 6th 7th
Domain 3rd
Myhome 4th
Estate 1st 2nd
Domain 4th
Myhome 5th 1st 2nd
Domain 4th
Myhome 5th

If you want to know how your website will be effected for your choice keywords check out and don’t forget to change it to Australia.

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  • Shane Dale
    Posted August 18, 2009 at 8:15 am 0Likes


    very interesting Glenn – this is all SEO, not paid ads, these results are all organic. Bearing in mind that doesnt have the same number of listings that domain has, shows a superior performance by Myhome – the number of listings does affect these results. Pound for pound – a great result. Although this is google, its not traffic- its a good start.

    SO …. what that means is – if the apathetic agents would support Myhome more then the SEO results would be even higher – which is a FREE usage of agents OWN combined listings. imagine if we had the same listings as REA or even domain? What would the results be? Number 1 and 2 are where you need to be to get real results.

    The issue is that the industry CAN band together and achieve a result – Myhome is great platform for that. Glenn, where is homehound on here?

    I also noticed when I did a search on melbourne real estate I got a different result – REA is 1, Myhome is 2, firstnational is 9 – domain isnt there in the first 10 neither is anyone else major. Very strange – perhaps they are altering their algorithm every day.

    I know domain is my competitor, but it does seem very strange to me they are not reflected in the results on some pages, they do represent a major resource for buyers – maybe they are being pinged for self referencing their own sites from within their own sites – all their Age, SMH and other sites reference domain heavily. Maybe that has been their main SEO strategy in the past.

  • James
    Posted August 18, 2009 at 8:40 am 0Likes

    I suggest your review is somwhat simplistic and an analysis of analytics for a wider range of search terms would potentially show different results.

    Nice plug Shane.

  • Shane Dale
    Posted August 18, 2009 at 9:00 am 0Likes

    Ok James, I can plead guilty to that I suppose, but organic SEO is critical – going from 4 to 2 or better and showing an overall upwards trend across Australia is a great result for us – we feel great! Not quite Rocky Balboa, but a minor victory anyhow – you gotta take what you can in these grim times.

    For the naysayers, its another inducement to take the Myhome option seriously, but as I do concede this is google results, not traffic, which is a different thing – in fact its different again from our real objective – leads and enquiries. That is a topic for a future article I think.

  • Glenn Batten
    Posted August 18, 2009 at 10:21 am 0Likes

    James ..

    This article was not a review of Caffeine in any shape or form. It was not even a simplistic review of the new search engine.

    What it was meant to do is to raise awareness that there is a change on the way and to give it a name as “Google Caffeine”.

    The other thing was to point out that rankings will change on the new version.

    I quickly did 14 popular searches (7 on each version) to see if there would be any major impact and whilst there was small changes here and there two stood out. Myhome and Domain. Whilst these are very popular searches they are just 7 terms out of millions of possibilities. I would suggest that they are an indicator of the changes that we could see across all keywords but but the only way to know that definitively would be to do the searches. Significant position changes to these popular keywords should amount to very noticeable traffic changes.


    Many things can change between now and launch. Google may tweak further and change everything still. There are strong opinions in the SEO world on what Caffeine is favouring and Domain may act quickly to implement some of them. SEO is so fluid at the best of times but climbing or dropping positions on such popular keywords is certainly a concern. I am sure the SEO team at Fairfax Digital is treating this seriously. It is a matter if they can task enough resources to the issue I suppose.

    Until this launches I don’t plan on doing a “wider range” of searches, but feel free if you want to do that yourself and share with everyone. I would love to read what you can come up with.

  • Nick
    Posted August 18, 2009 at 12:36 pm 0Likes

    One thing which no one has mentioned yet, is that the searches are faster. We are talking 4 – 6x faster.
    I’m getting 90ms – 200ms very consistently.
    Not sure how they did that. 😛

    Google Caffeine is a (partial?) rewrite of the code powering the search.
    It seems they have made minor tweaks to the algorithm while they were at it, but nothing too significant.

    The biggest point of Caffeine is a minor rewrite of their code.
    So they will probably be extending it in ways they probably couldnt before.
    The true implications of it we wont see for awhile.

  • Greg Vincent
    Posted August 18, 2009 at 2:19 pm 0Likes

    Ben Parr of Mashable did quite a good dissection of Google Caffeine based on :-

    3.Temporal Relevancy
    4.Index Size

    Here’s the article:-

    He says “Search is moving into real-time: Being able to get info on breaking events is clearly a priority for Google and Bing. With both Twitter (Twitter) and Facebook (Facebook) launching real-time search engines, they needed to respond.”

    The use of keywords within sites like Twitter, Facebook, Friendfeed, etc looks like playing a bigger part in the new Google as they try to compete with real-time search.

    One thing is for sure… real-time search is here to stay.

  • Robert Simeon
    Posted August 18, 2009 at 2:32 pm 0Likes

    Have a look at this website for traffic data –

  • Robert Simeon
    Posted August 18, 2009 at 2:37 pm 0Likes

    Hold off opening that URL as it keeps freezing – apologies

  • Glenn Batten
    Posted August 18, 2009 at 2:39 pm 0Likes

    It works fine Robert.. You might be having problems with flash…. try shutting down your browser and trying again.

  • Glenn Batten
    Posted August 18, 2009 at 2:49 pm 0Likes


    It is definitely faster… it even tells you it is 🙂

    Saving 0.2 seconds for the individual user does not actually make that much of a difference… but for google the scalability would be huge with millions of searches being conducted at any one time.

    Reports vary on exactly how many searches Google conducts every day.. but generally they range from a few hundred million queries to 1.2 billion queries per day. If you save 0.2 seconds from every query that is a damn lot of server cpu time freed up.

    Still it’s hard to give that too much credit just yet because it is not running with too much of a load right now but it would be nice if that saving remains.

  • Nick
    Posted August 18, 2009 at 10:20 pm 0Likes

    Thats a good point Greg Vincent.
    Google has started to add new features like showing current trends with Google Trends and adding the ability to search for pages posted in the last 24 hours.

    This will probably help them extend those features.

  • Greg Vincent
    Posted August 19, 2009 at 12:10 am 0Likes

    Nick, with the capacity already in place to search Google for pages posted in the last 24 hours, 7 days, etc, with the evolution of Google Caffeine I feel that it’s going to become harder for agents with basic (cookie cutter) websites & with minimal changes happening to their sites to remain competitive & relevant within Google’s new algorithm.

    Regularly updated sites are going to reign supreme. Blogging, user generated content & tweeting, etc will play an even bigger part in an agents SEO strategy. (especially with real-time search)

  • Nick
    Posted August 19, 2009 at 9:36 am 0Likes

    I dont think that will be completely true.
    So much of the web doesnt change frequently, and there is a awful lot of content in those pages.

    I imagine Caffeine is more of a update to allow ‘incremental indexing’.
    So they can do a big crawl, and then afterward add new pages to the index as well as they are crawled instead of them having to wait to be added.

    I highly doubt Google will change its ranking behavior to favor new pages.
    That would trash the quality of the results and its too easily manipulated.

  • Glenn Batten
    Posted August 19, 2009 at 9:57 am 0Likes

    What is already happening, and what may be further enhanced is new pages on established and trusted domains are given an extra emphasis in the results. This started over a year or two ago but its reasonable to assume for the reasons that Greg has provided that this may be enhanced even further… but as Nick highlights, just improving new pages for the sake of it will never work as the spammers will abuse it.. This is related to the discussion going on right now in the Single Property Websites article. New domains are effectively sandboxed by Google till they are matured. They are indexed and they will come up for totally unique searches on their specific content.. but they dont rank for broader searches.

  • MC
    Posted August 19, 2009 at 12:36 pm 0Likes

    Dale, I reckon you were bloody lucky to have PBL buy MyHome. It was never any good. And you are jeopardising your current marketing of it with continued comments like, “SO

  • Shane Dale
    Posted August 19, 2009 at 9:35 pm 0Likes

    MC, I am sorry of you took it that way, but the trouble with short text messages here is they can be read without “tone of voice” but just to be clear – the comment was simply that – more listings on myhome will have an upward SEO effect on the portal, if myhome can get such results with less listings than either domain or homehound, yet still deliver a higher ranking that shows – potential, and expertise in SEO.

    If the site is free, and gets a reasonable amount of enquiry – then what excuse is there for agents to not join – unfortunately MC , I can say from experience – apathy is a large part of this issue – despite quite alot of motivated agents who write here – many agents bemoan high fees then dont support alternatives. I just dont know what else to offer those agents – happy to hear views to help ( preferably by email not here).

    Finally – PBL didnt buy myhome from me, they created from the technologies I had, then ignored all advice from me, as such I cant comment on their activities from that time. Hopefully that makes me less of a pain in the arse now I have cleared the air. 😉

    Posted September 15, 2009 at 1:34 pm 0Likes

    I don’t know where else to put this comment but trying to sign up for the rss feed was impossible. I got a bunch of error messages and then my computer froze up and I had to stop. Oh well, at least I can always just come here to read.

  • Brenley
    Posted August 30, 2011 at 2:54 am 0Likes

    Your story was really informative, thanks!

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