Matt Cutts addressed the Google algorithm update that recently gave a boost to brands that I commented on in my post Big Company Google Boosts Other Big Brands in Search Results. He basically downplays the change and apparently ignores the question posed “What does Google consider a ‘Brand’” by saying his team doesn’t consider brands. Right. What is Vince based on then? Guess it’s a secret.
Let’s face it. Maybe Google started off as a egalitarian, nice, fair, “do no evil” type of company, but they have officially hit the big time. Big companies aren’t nice or fair. There is too much money involved. If you still buy into the nicey-nice Google culture, read the New York Times article on Google’s Marissa Mayer and the reaction/comments from Silicon Valley Web Guild and ValleyWag. That, along with comments from Google CEO Eric Schmidt, paints a pretty good picture of corporate executives drunk on their own elitist Koolaid (ok, crappy metaphor, but it’s early). He calls the internet a cesspool. And the solution? Good ole Big Brands. Trusted by millions.
So what does that mean to you, trying to make information about your products and services available to the general public ? It’s going to be harder, at least in the short term. What does it mean to you, the searcher trying to find specific information that’s a little bit off the beaten path. It may be more difficult.
Here’s a possible side-effect of the brand bump in the Google SERPS, that I haven’t see much discussion about. In a couple of different verticals I work with, I’ve noticed page one being filled with directory results from large paid directories, rather than websites of individual businesses, when doing a local search for a specific product or service. Are these big directories considered a brand? How does adding an extra step of displaying a directory results page in the search engine results page help anyone?
So Big Brand=Higher Quality, More Accurate Content=Better Search Results? No. Google has the ability, resonsibilty, or authority to determine what information is “TRUE” and what is not? NO. My personal opinion is that such an idea, forced into the algorithm by the almighty dollar rather than a concern for helping the searcher find what they are looking for, will result in people switching to another search engine to find what they are looking for. Then, when the traffic decrease results in a loss in revenue, Google will move the other way. I hope.