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Vince Algo Update - More Offline Brand Authority in SERPS?
Voasi

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3854121 posted 6:12 pm on Feb 20, 2009 (gmt 0)

I've been doing several different searches today, mostly high competition single and two-word combos and it seems across the board, Google is giving more and more top spot rankings to Fortune-type offline brands. For instance:

Keyword: Laptop
#1 - Apple
#2 - Dell

Keyword: High Speed Internet
#1 - ATT
#2 - Comcast

Keyword: Quit Smoking
#1 - SmokeFree.gov
#2 - CDC.gov

Keyword: Car Audio
#1 - Crutchfield
#3 - Pioneer

Does anyone else see this in competitive spaces?

 

4get

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3854121 posted 5:07 pm on Mar 1, 2009 (gmt 0)

by the way I agree with the way Google deals with Brand Authority , why should someone else rank at number one exept e.g Apple for Iphone or BMW for BMW....

signor_john



 
Msg#: 3854121 posted 6:33 pm on Mar 1, 2009 (gmt 0)

by the way I agree with the way Google deals with Brand Authority , why should someone else rank at number one exept e.g Apple for Iphone or BMW for BMW....

I feel the same way, but what we're talking about here (or what I think we're talking about here) is results like "Uggs" for "boots" or "Dell" for "laptops": i.e., brand names having authority for generic search strings.

tedster

WebmasterWorld Senior Member tedster us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3854121 posted 7:12 pm on Mar 1, 2009 (gmt 0)

Did yall not read what MC said. They manually made some changes on a few search terms...

He actually said that they changed the ALGORITHM for a few search terms. As I read it, that means that some search queries kick in a different algorithm than others do (I think those who watch closely already knew that).

That's just a bit different than manually setting the search results for a query.

cav609

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3854121 posted 10:39 pm on Mar 2, 2009 (gmt 0)

From Wikipedia, but hey, its good sense for a change :-)

"A brand which is widely known in the marketplace acquires brand recognition. When brand recognition builds up to a point where a brand enjoys a critical mass of positive sentiment in the marketplace, it is said to have achieved brand franchise. One goal in brand recognition is the identification of a brand without the name of the company present. The brand name is often used interchangeably with the product or service."

----------------------------------------------------------
Tedster #:3858898:
".. I'd express it as Google has rewarded some brands that do not deserve it according to our established ideas of SEO." However, from a total business perspective, these are strongly branded businesses, and Google's users might well expect to see these brands in results for a generic query - so it doesn't surprise me that we are getting a sense of some new 'signal" at work.
----------------------------------------------------------

Brands are about word of mouth - Ok, some of these examples may be old, but then I'm an old ad agency type ...

Vaccuum flask = Thermos
Sports shoes = Nike
Iphone= Apple
Mac = Apple
Vacuum cleaner = Hoover
Coke = Soft drink
Burger = McDonalds
Beans = Heinz

And ...

Laptop = Apple or Dell - which one? Check out the current search results for "laptop"

With traditional media, its all about "word of mouth", Hence when I say Iphone, I'm talking about Apple. When I say "My Mac" I'm saying "My apple computer"

Thats all in traditional media. How does this translate to the web, Google and SEO? I think Aaron has it. Universal search, or rather the results that constitute universal search, equate to "word-of-mouth" on the web. Blogs, videos, social media, news, comment ... "When brand recognition builds up to a point where a brand enjoys a critical mass of positive sentiment in the marketplace, it
is said to have achieved brand franchise."

So, how has Google turned this into an algorithm? At what point, and with what mix, does a brand "build up to a point where it enjoys a critical mass of positive sentiment in the marketplace"?

---------------------------------------------------------
Robert Charleton #:3858597:

One of the questions I'd ask in relation to this discussion is whether this is a boost applied just to brands, or whether it's an overall co-occurence boost of some kind, perhaps one that only kicks in when there's a strong link profile for the co-occurring term (as there would be on a branded page).
-----------------------------------------------------------

Case in point: One of our sites is only 2 years old, a pure web business, and we've spent a lot of time and energy in trying to build a brand (the domain name) that is synonymous with the 2 word search phrase that dominates the niche. What happened on Jan 18? We shot to number one from number 5 in Google. Its now settled down to number 2. The number one slot is held by a domain 6 years older than us. Our brand franchise? "Blogs, videos, social media, news, comment ..." and a strongly branded home page. We're not an Apple, or a Nike, but our brand is being equated with the primary search phrase for the niche.

QED as far as we're concerned. Read Aarons post and just do it. And if you discover where the "threshold" is, then please let us know where it is :-)

IanKelley

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3854121 posted 11:40 pm on Mar 2, 2009 (gmt 0)

Did yall not read what MC said. They manually made some changes on a few search terms...

He actually said that they changed the ALGORITHM for a few search terms. As I read it, that means that some search queries kick in a different algorithm than others do (I think those who watch closely already knew that).

That's just a bit different than manually setting the search results for a query.

To be precise, Matt said:

The short answer is that we did change some of our algorithms for some queries

Different algorithms for different queries? That's an entirely new thread :-) Let's just go with the obvious: It was non techie summarization for the public.

There are a lot of ways to read Matt's statement, but every interpretation I can think of involves some level of manual human intervention.

I would guess that what they did is increase the weight of previously recorded human reviewer data based on brands. Again, humans are being paid specifically to decide which brand should rank on certain searches. How that has been ignored in this thread is a mystery to me.

It's definitely possible that they added in some new automated logic too but that does not need to be true in order to explain what people are seeing.

Lorel

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3854121 posted 11:48 pm on Mar 2, 2009 (gmt 0)

Just a quick point: imagine how many times people talk about the laptop they bought on Dell or Apple.com. Millions and millions are sold each year. Even the US govt and .edu buy from them.

I would think that computers that fall apart faster (not apple) would get the greatest "branding" because of so many posts in "fix-it" forums, and therefore not necessarily reflect on a "good" brand, i.e. branding can be reflecting crap, but bring rank via Google.

Well, why would google has to rank for that seen you have found a "search engine" already and are using it (google)..., it's irrelevant when you are already on google. Giving you alternative search engines is correct! That's actually clever and should be the expected result.

Especially when lots of people are saying "Google it", instead of "search for it" now.

tedster

WebmasterWorld Senior Member tedster us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3854121 posted 12:37 am on Mar 3, 2009 (gmt 0)

every interpretation I can think of involves some level of manual human intervention

Yes -- because every algorithm requires a human to write it, and every algorithm is written to accomplish some human-determined purpose. There have been official statements that Google engineers change something about the overall algo more than once a day. The algo is not a once and done bit of math that just sits there spitting out its results.

Add in the rather large human editorial "quality assurance" team, generating their evaluations for thousands of high competition queries. Those "opinions" also get folded into the algo, rather than being a direct manual tweak.

Yes, sometimes there might be a direct intervention in a given SERP (or site) but only if Google feels the situation is extreme. This case isn't one of those. It's an intentional change in the algo, and not a direct manual tweak to a group of generic query results.

Because it is an automated algo, there may be some edge cases around that tell us something interesting. The challenge will be knowing if the new version of the algo is running on a given query or not.

ogletree

WebmasterWorld Senior Member ogletree us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3854121 posted 1:14 am on Mar 3, 2009 (gmt 0)

Yes it is an algorithm but it might just be this.

If($searchterm = "laptop"){
$numberone = "dell";
}

IanKelley

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3854121 posted 1:35 am on Mar 3, 2009 (gmt 0)

Add in the rather large human editorial "quality assurance" team, generating their evaluations for thousands of high competition queries. Those "opinions" also get folded into the algo, rather than being a direct manual tweak.

Yes, as I said, my guess is they increased the weight of editorial decisions where brand is concerned, thus Matt's statement that only "certain terms" were effected. The editorial team only looks at "certain terms".

Robert Charlton

WebmasterWorld Administrator robert_charlton us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 3854121 posted 7:27 am on Mar 9, 2009 (gmt 0)

The video in which Matt discusses this question is available on Google Video and YouTube....

Is Google putting more weight on brands in rankings?
[youtube.com...]

Matt notes that inside the search ranking team, they don't think specifically about brands, and he gives an example in the video to illustrate that brand is not specifically what was emphasized by the change. He repeated several times to think a lot about "trust, reputation, authority, and PageRank."

He suggested (and I'm paraphrasing here) that you focus on becoming an authority in your own niche... and that it doesn't have to be a huge, well-known keyword... it can be a smaller niche... and if you're still the expert, that's gonna be the kind of thing that people want to talk about and link to... and those are the sorts of sites, "the experts," that Google wants to bring back.

He indicated that he planned to talk more about this at PubCon.

[edited by: Robert_Charlton at 7:31 am (utc) on Mar. 9, 2009]

tedster

WebmasterWorld Senior Member tedster us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3854121 posted 7:49 am on Mar 9, 2009 (gmt 0)

I hope we can pin him down while he's in Texas! That video, while seeming to say something or other, really tells us very little about "Vince's algo change", but at leasst he does verify that something happened.

All those factors -- trust, reputation, authority, PageRank, high quality -- have already been in play (although I do wonder what "reputation" means in a technical sense.)

Key points I hear:

1. Only certain queries are affected.

2. Affects a relatively small number of queries (although they may be high volume queries - he doesn't address that.

3. Matt feels that Google succeeded in their goal - something they considered junk was pushed out of the top search results.

So it wasn't just about rewarding a certain type of site, it was also about pulling some weeds.

The question of "query type" or user intention also comes up - Matt mentions brand search, informational, navigational, and transactional. I can't quite tell if he's saying that only one type of query is affected - but my money is on the "informational" type.

AnkitMaheshwari

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3854121 posted 10:45 am on Mar 9, 2009 (gmt 0)

I am following this thread from quite a while and am personally interested as I myself is working for one of the major brands that ranks well for a large set of keywords. I too have seen that rankings improved for few of our keywords last month that were not ranking earlier, as well as few other brands that were nowhere to be found till last to last month are now on page #1 (thus high competition).

On how Google is defining brand apart from links, Anchor text with brand name (company name), I think we also need to look at:

1. PPC spend for a company (G might be taking this into account while deciding brand).
2. Within PPC spend, maybe more likely way of defining brand would be the money spent for the brand keyword on daily basis.

I think G can also use this info which it already has.

For instance while searching for "HP" no PPC campaign is being run by HP while Dell has the PPC result. This might explain the reason why Dell ranks and Hp does not.

This also would mean that G in turn wants brands to spend more to be on top and prove there authority. (Thus more money for G)

tedster

WebmasterWorld Senior Member tedster us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3854121 posted 4:23 pm on Mar 9, 2009 (gmt 0)

I'd be astonished if Google used PPC spend in the organic algo - they've always said they don't. It would kill them in the long run and they know it.

I see a lot of organic data and a lot of PPC spend data and there is no correlation.

[edited by: tedster at 5:17 pm (utc) on Mar. 9, 2009]

AnkitMaheshwari

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3854121 posted 4:39 pm on Mar 9, 2009 (gmt 0)

I know Google has never used the PPC data for SEO ranks before, however one can never know what goes behind the curtain....

pageoneresults

WebmasterWorld Senior Member pageoneresults us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3854121 posted 5:07 pm on Mar 9, 2009 (gmt 0)

Donning me BIGGEST Tin Hat...

What if Google were using signals from Social Media? I've been doing a bit of research in this area and have recently written quite a few articles relating to Twitter and Google. There is a very strong relationship in the SERPs right now between the two. A site: search for Twitter and Statuses will give you a good idea of how much that relationship is growing. In the past 24 hours, Google have indexed 2.6 Million Tweets, how many of those are Branded Tweets?

That is just one Social Media platform. Add in Facebook and the hundreds of others that may be used for signals and I'd say you have a pretty solid dataset for refining Brand related searches.

Robert Charlton

WebmasterWorld Administrator robert_charlton us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 3854121 posted 7:51 pm on Mar 9, 2009 (gmt 0)

...what "reputation" means in a technical sense...

From what he said in the video, I felt he was talking about it more in the social sense... that the buzz is what will attract links.

Robert Charlton

WebmasterWorld Administrator robert_charlton us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 3854121 posted 8:02 pm on Mar 9, 2009 (gmt 0)

PS to my post above...

By "social," I didn't mean that Matt was particularly talking about social media. To quote from my description of the video....

Emphasis added...
...and if you're still the expert, that's gonna be the kind of thing that people want to talk about and link to... and those are the sorts of sites, "the experts," that Google wants to bring back.

I should add that he also included "the sort of things that people really enjoy" in his list of what Google's trying to "bring back," so I don't think they're focussing simply on informational, though for the most part I also got that sense myself.

cav609

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3854121 posted 8:16 pm on Mar 9, 2009 (gmt 0)

----------------------------------------------------------
Robert Charlton
#:3866086
Matt notes that inside the search ranking team, they don't think specifically about brands, and he gives an example in
the video to illustrate that brand is not specifically what was emphasized by the change. He repeated several times to
think a lot about "trust, reputation, authority, and PageRank."
-----------------------------------------------------------

Thats what he said alright. Lol! But its still about brands. A brand doesn't have to be a big business.

Brands are largely about "reputation" generated by word-of-mouth inter-action within their own market / niche. Conversations, dialogue. Created and stimulated by advertising / promotion (usually). A brand is an emotional connection to, and perception of a business from the consumers perspective. Usually created by that business and to differentiate it from the competition. What ad agencies have been doing ever since Proctor & Gamble created the soap opera in the 1950's.

So, build your "Reputation" and that brings "Trust" (but ok, not not always)

"Trustworthy" brands gain "Authority" in the eyes of the consumer and are eventually perceived as "High Quality"
operations. And then they eventually become the Expert.

The only thing different on the web to traditional media is Page Rank - but isn't that about reputation also? One site
"voting" for another?

So, how do you build "Reputation" for your site? Is it social media, universal search inputs, links from authority sites? Creating the buzz sounds right to me. Perhaps a combination of all of the above?

tedster

WebmasterWorld Senior Member tedster us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3854121 posted 8:26 pm on Mar 9, 2009 (gmt 0)

Maybe it's as simple as what "brand" is NOT! It is not a network of several hundred sites created to boost ranking for a generic site that sells the product d'jour. It's not a website that doesn't care if people remember it's domain name. It's not a website that just wants to make money, any way it can cook up.

I'm thinking, more and more, that this change was designed to weed out, rather than to proactively boost.

ogletree

WebmasterWorld Senior Member ogletree us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3854121 posted 8:30 pm on Mar 9, 2009 (gmt 0)

This is just another incarnation of Florida. Ever since then it has been about trust and authority. They just like play with the knobs. Nothing new inho.

cav609

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3854121 posted 9:03 pm on Mar 9, 2009 (gmt 0)

Florida in principle perhaps. But many things have changed since then? It would be good to understand which knobs, perhaps new knobs, have been played with.

ogletree

WebmasterWorld Senior Member ogletree us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3854121 posted 10:09 pm on Mar 9, 2009 (gmt 0)

From what I can tell nothing has really changed. Just try to get as many links as you can and you win. Obviously better quality links with authority are better and will get you your goal faster. Quantity can still make up for quality.

You can still buy your way to the top by buying an old high quality domain. Just make sure the links the domain have match your content at least on a category level.

[edited by: Robert_Charlton at 1:59 am (utc) on Mar. 10, 2009]
[edit reason] fixed typo [/edit]

brotherhood of LAN

WebmasterWorld Administrator brotherhood_of_lan us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 3854121 posted 10:55 pm on Mar 9, 2009 (gmt 0)

Interesting read and observations, well worth reading over again.

It's apparent the example searches in the original post will be relatively popular and I buy into the idea of human reviewing playing a part in them. I've tracked some financial terms over a long time and some 'powerful' domains (SEO and brand) seem pegged to the top while the remaining top 10 spots are more volatile in their positioning.

The title is one of those questions that keeps SEO interesting as well as the philosophy of what should rank where in information retrieval.

[edited by: brotherhood_of_LAN at 10:55 pm (utc) on Mar. 9, 2009]

potentialgeek

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3854121 posted 4:43 pm on Mar 13, 2009 (gmt 0)

"I'd be astonished if Google used PPC spend in the organic algo - they've always said they don't. It would kill them in the long run and they know it."

I doubt the team is even allowed access to the PPC data, let alone able to implement it into the algo.

Cutts in his video made it sound as if Vince at the Plex has been working on this project for some time.

"It's one of over 300 or 400 changes we make every year. So I wouldn't call this an update. I would call it just a simple change."

Dang--when you drop just one place on a major KW, it can sure feel like an update!

Funny how he mentioned people at WW noticed the change . . . first. :)

p/g

cav609

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3854121 posted 7:42 pm on Apr 1, 2009 (gmt 0)

Time to fan the dying flames ... :-)

"Social networking sites are all about people building up trust and reputation on a personal level. So, I think the notion of brands as we've known them such as multi-nationals like Exxon is going away. I think we're moving more into social search and that's all about tapping into a network of trust ... Addressing your question directly: "Do you think brands might be an important signal of quality?" As long as those brands belong to the end user and not large corporations, and that's certainly what's happening, then yes, a great signal of quality."

[seobook.com...]

Marcia

WebmasterWorld Senior Member marcia us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3854121 posted 3:56 am on Jun 7, 2009 (gmt 0)

It certainly isn't quality for the user if the person is shopping and needs to buy, and they get the manufacturer's site that doesn't even sell what they're looking for. Sure, they have a page with links to their "partners" who sell the products - name brand, publicly traded department store chains.

No better than an MFA site, where's the value added? No, it isn't backlinks or social networking on the sites I'm looking at - it's their stock exchange listing.

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