Over the last week, claims have emerged that Google has been giving big brands a helping hand in their SEO efforts. The Google ranking algorithm apparently now includes branding in its ranking calculations.
The discussion started when Aaron Wall, one the industries most respected SEO proponents, released a lengthy blog post titled “Google”s New Search Engine Rankings Place Heavy Emphasis on Branding“.
After taking his reader’s through a brief history of Google’s algorithm updates, Aaron goes on to highlight via some RankPulse charts, that big brands seem to have received a major ranking boost since Jan 09. An unprecedented number of them breaking into the top 10 miraculously. Aaron describes the situation:
in some cases brands have 80% or 90% of the first page search results for some of the most valuable keywords. There are thousands of other such examples across all industries if you take the time to do the research, but the trend is clear – Google is promoting brands for big money core category keywords.
In his post, he refers to a presentation Eric Schmidt gave which might have been a hint into the future tweaks Google was planning for the algorithm.
The internet is fast becoming a “cesspool” where false information thrivesâ€¦Brands are the solution, not the problemâ€¦Brands are how you sort out the cesspool. Brand affinity is clearly hard wiredâ€¦It is so fundamental to human existence that it”s not going away. It must have a genetic component.
It does beg the question: â€œDoes boosting brand rankings enhance the user experience or are Google just aligning themselves with the companies most likely to be valuable advertisers? It’s a question that’s not likely to have a simple answer, as is highlighted by the lengthy discussion at various websites. (read more at Sphinn, SEObook). What do you think? Is brand bumping an enhancement to the quality of search results? Or would you like to see the Jan 09 algorithm update rolled back to level the playing field?