Robert_Charlton - 7:06 am on Nov 4, 2010 (gmt 0)
does anyone have any ideas on how Google differentiates a "Brand" from a "Store"?
In the results I'm looking at now, for a search on [electronics], the Brands are manufacturers and the Stores are retailers.
Ditto for [computers], which also returns Types.
The Brands shown are apparently more specific than the branding effect that some of us associate with the Vince algo update.
The Vince "brands" belonged to either stores or to manufacturers. They also can belong to niche authorities and to prominent people or institutions. Matt Cutts has in several venues suggested that Vince wasn't about branding, but was about "trust, reputation, authority, and PageRank." But these serps are acknowledging the B-word. To be sure, they're not quite the same as Vince brands, but they seem to carry some weight.
I notice on both the electronics and computer searches, that Google is also returning Place results mid-page, eg...
Places for electronics near CityName.
The Places are not small online ecommerce sites, though. They're all local brick and mortar stores, some small businesses... and some retail outlets for the Stores listed at the top of the page and also ranked for the one word term in the serps.
Where I am, RadioShack gets three listings on the first page for the electronics search, and Fry's gets two. Actually, there are not any small online ecommerce stores on a one-word term like this for quite a few pages down, so you might say that Google is giving a few spots to the small guy in the first page Place listings.