aristotle - 9:52 pm on Oct 10, 2010 (gmt 0)
Yes it is. And Google has an algorithmic way of determining what character strings represent "a brand" entity, right? Maybe they have gone further and now have a "brand strength" or "brand authority" signal?
Something the general SEO community hasn't pinned down showed it's face in the 2009 Vince update [webmasterworld.com] and then in the 2010 Mayday update [webmasterworld.com]. This is one place where I feel Google takes social media signals into the ranking mix.
If this works to improve Google rankings and traffic, then sites like Facebook and Twitter will soon be invaded by thousands of spammers.