TheMadScientist - 7:36 pm on Nov 13, 2012 (gmt 0)
This can be either because (a) Google's algo is still evolving or (b) this is a deliberate and permanent policy move on their part.
Or (c) Google has a machine learning algo, they use 'query type' as part of the rankings on a 'per query basis' and the sites (pages) people actually visit more in the results are the sites (pages) they list higher in the rankings, which happens to be sites with less information and better pricing OR that are from a more recognizable on/offline business, meaning a site where there is an implicit (or known) level of customer service available from the seller, based on the name of the seller itself.
In other words: Is it not possible people are not actually looking for or wanting to find your site (or other sites "with great information but no 'house hold name' they trust" for transactional queries) as much as you think they are?
I assure you, if your site I've never heard of before and Best Buy have the same product I don't care if it's 15% more for the product from Best Buy and I don't care that I have to go to the manufacturer's site to find information sometimes for products listed on Best Buy ... Best Buy is the site I want to find for the product, not yours. Sorry.
What I care about when I'm thinking about making that (or any really) type of purchase online is that I can Walk to the Best Buy store in less than 20 minutes if I need to and they have a level of customer service they Must maintain ... Sorry, but I really don't care what information you have others don't when it comes to shopping online, I want a name I know and recognize, if I can find one, and that's not your site.
My guess is, since you're selling something the information you present about the product(s) is not nearly as important to buyers or rankings as 'trust' (from real people who are looking to spend real money on the Internet where they hear all kinds of True stories about 'this one site that did [blah]' and how they really have to work to protect their privacy, etc.), 'query type' (transactional v informational - you have a site with great information for a transactional query and you're wondering why you're being out ranked by sites with 'name recognition' in a system where a machine learning algo makes the decisions based in part on what people click the most...)
I think the sites that show in the results are quite likely a hint as to what people who search for are actually clicking and using. Are you sure your site is better for Google's SERPs (what more people would actually want to find) than the results being shown?
If the query is determined to be transactional, and most people who make the query continue to click on shopping sites rather than informational (on a 'percentage of the whole' and 'personalized results' level) then it's quite possible, brand or not, your site is not the one people are looking for.
Sorry I didn't answer the question about 'brand building' directly, but it seems to be based on a false premise to me, so I thought I would address an alternative possibility as to why the site in question isn't ranking above 'the big boys' with household name recognition for transactional queries.
If you want that type of recognition, you better start advertising, tons ... And, my guess is, Google is ranking the right type of sites for the queries, not by some 'arbitrary decision' they made to 'remove the little guy', but rather based on what people actually use, click, revist, and yours doesn't 'match' what people actually want to find.