roycerus - 4:30 am on Apr 13, 2011 (gmt 0)
I think with this Panda update Google has become more "BRAND AWARE". One of things I am realizing is that in terms of content you cannot really be doing or saying something that hasn't been said before or hasn't been said in some other way by someone else. So unless you are Seth Godin talking about marketing or the like - there is little value to what your tiny voice is saying.
We all like to believe "I am right", and our content is superior to others but ultimately it's the users who decide. Put the same content on two different sites - one with a fabulous design and another with a text dump and you will see users opting for the better designed one where consumption of the grub is easier and pleasing. Which is probably why services which can present the flight information data better are doing better than the respective aviation company websites.
So although EHOW may have a lot of crappy stuff - their design of bullet points may be easy for people to consume. These people must be talking and sharing their stuff everywhere - thus making their brand more visible.
So, even if for a particular keyword the content of EHOW is not very good - they may rank higher because of what their BRAND stands for. The BRAND value would probably be a collective feedback of all the content they have created and all the promotions they have done and all the little things people may have said about them.
So it probably matters how much work you have put on developing your brand name? Do you really care about the brand name or are you just working on SEO all day. What have people said about you on the social networks or on their blogs. I think all these factors have been played up on the recent update.
On a separate note, imagine if Facebook takes all it's "Like" knowledge and "social graph" knowledge and starts indexing the web. Such a search engine can be very powerful and if users can do everything - 1. be social 2. share photos 3. search for information [customized using the social and location graph] on ONE site it can be a pretty powerful.
I think Google realizes this impending danger - and I think Larry has got it right. He needs to focus on social and not only by incorporating social into the search results feed but also into email. These two are Google's strengths and they need to capitalize on this so that they can diffuse the whole idea of facebook becoming a search engine "also". And they need to do this before they start loosing more people - without people there will be little data to actually make the social work.
One of the key issues for Google here is the disparity of design in their various properties - GMAIL, ORKUT, GOOGLE SEARCH, BLOGGER don't look similar. While on facebook almost everything is consistent.
Google has already lost some search percentage and these wild changes will be required to stay in the game.
I think we as webmasters need to focus more on the BRAND - treat every visitor as a customer and treat them nicely in every possible way. Be it via website support or by talking to them and asking for suggestions about what they want. These people will go out blogging and talking on social networks about your brand eventually. It seems the online is becoming more and more like the offline world.