turbocharged - 3:01 am on May 27, 2013 (gmt 0)
Either way you want to look at it, Google's cute lil cuddly algorithm changes are driving small businesses out of the serps. I suspected Google would gradually move towards displaying big brands because it takes less computing power to do it. In the absence of an algorithmic solution that ranks valuable content, Google gives the positions to the big brands.
Recognized local brands, which do quite well with word of mouth referrals, have also been booted out of the serps. One client we do design work for, as an example, is gone out of the top 100 results. 45 years in business, a rock solid BBB rating for decades and links from some really powerful domains (their suppliers) and they still don't appear for their primary local keyword. And they should. The business is the oldest and most reputable one of its type in their city.
With everyone so afraid of linking to another site, or having someone link to them, the internet's version of word of mouth advertising (link to each other) has been silenced out of fear. Only big brands appear to escape any form of penalty for being linked to. Others, who want to restore their ranks, are told to scroll through the disavow feature in WMT to identify and disavow the bad apples. No small business owner has time for this, and many others that have tried are quick to say it does not work and sometimes does more damage then good. Anyway, there is no amount of disavowing that will improve ranks when the algorithm is severely slanted towards rewarding national and international brands.
This is probably the beginning of the end of organic search in Google. Seeking to monetize everything they can, and use their dominance to expand into other industries that benefit from preferred placement in Google, I'm sure there are enough Adwords bidders to fill up the first 1 or 2 pages of the serps for many keyword queries. Rather than make a switch at once, and cause a huge uproar from every corner of the web, Google is taking gradual steps in that direction. These steps may be needed to not cause a panic among webmasters and to not raise anymore flags with government agencies. Don't get me wrong, I don't think organic search will die. But I believe in the not so distant future organic listings will be on pages 2+, provided that enough people are bidding for Adwords placement in each query. Especially for highly competitive queries, Google does not need organic listings to present information to its users. And with CPC dropping, and many Adsense sites getting knocked out of Google's serps, we may see an acceleration of Google's plans as they must appease shareholders.