Google Algorithm Places Emphasis on Brands

Yes, indeedy…there has been another Google algorithm update. Did you think you were safe?

Welcome to the world of the search engines! An insightful post on Google branding, written by Aaron Wall of SEO Book, explains briefly the past impacts of the various Google updates. He mentions the Florida Update, along with the Google Austin update and goes into detail on how these filtering/algorithmic changes have effected the search world as a whole.

What’s next?

There is talk of the next big algorithmic update being, quite possibly, bigger than the Florida Update. For those of who don’t know what I’m talking about, here is a brief explanation of an event that rocked the search engine world. November 16, 2003 was a cataclysmic day that changed the life of many businesses, including the world of SEO. What happened?

  • Webpages that had been ranked highly for years in Google vanished and the relevancy of the searches were greatly diminished.
  • People believed that Google administered a ‘seo filter’. This spawned a variety of theories as to what really happened and what triggered Google to do this.
  • This update made the heads of SEO’s spin, as sites began dropping from the search results pages. Webpages that were dropped included those having: repetitive inbound anchor text, spammed keywords across titles, meta data, or body text, or lack of unique on-site copy

So long are the days of ‘easy optimization’ (simply putting keywords into a title tag, meta description or loosely implementing them on a page). Buying or selling links was and still is grey-sided SEO and websites were quickly “penalized”, or looked down upon if Google picked up on this. Gone are the days of rudimentary thinking that repetition is all you need.

Thus, the craft of true search engine optimization was born.

With steep competition in all types of industries (get a website, everyone is doing it!) comes filtering, optimization and spam. As we all know, the goal of a search engine is to deliver users the best search results for a query. So, they need some type of ‘standards’, ‘filter’, ‘voice of reason’ on how to determine the best way to deliver accurate results.

Many of you may have remembered the Google Penalty 6 Position and remember how it was reversed. Or, what about the advent of rel=nofollow attributes to help eliminate link spam? Nowadays, it’s in your best interest to place this tag on bought links, or perhaps utilize this to discredit some links, while emphasizing others. Nonetheless, this was another Google update that was talked about in past years that has effected today’s web world.

Let’s not forget one of the latest algorithm updates: Universal Search (including personal and behavioral search). Google Local, News, podcasts, audio, m3players, images, maps, PDFs and video are just a few media facets to think about. Is it the way of the future? I think so.

Ok, so getting back to this Google branding theory

Some people speculate that, “…they [search engines] may be using some sort of measuring of typed in traffic numbers.” In my opinion, I think it goes beyond just simple placements or link building, I think it’s the marketing strategy as  a whole – whether is it measured by how many times a brand is typed in, or how many times a brand is ‘mentioned’ on blogs, posts, forums, ads, etc.

What does this mean for the little guy? How are the little guys supposed to compete with these monstrous branded sites, who may not have even SEO’d their sites, but are ranking based solely on brand reputation? Does this mean that the Hampton Inns of the world will appear #1 over the boutique bed and breakfasts, local hotels and inns simply for their name?

I think we need to be vigilant and really think more about ourselves as a brand. Are we getting our name out there? Are we posting, commenting, ‘befriending’, joining or tweeting as much as we can to build brand reputation and awareness?

As stated by Eric Schmidt in Aaron Walls article, “Brands are the solution, not the problem…Brands are how you sort out the cesspool.” He made note to say that brands were increasingly important signals that content can be trusted.

So, what comes first, the brand or the content? Does the brand make the content, or does the content make the brand?

The other part to this mix is the wording of the content. It has been known in the past that search engines ‘see’ the keywords for just that, keywords. Wouldn’t it be nice if search engines understood the context, not just the keywords themselves? This is also something to watch for in the future…

A strategy: Work the long tail keywords for smaller, more niche businesses.

Let’s hear your thoughts on this!

About Sara Mannix

Sara Mannix is the CEO of Mannix Marketing, Inc., a Digital Marketing Agency headquartered in Glens Falls, NY. She founded Mannix Marketing in 1996 with a goal to get clients "found" on the web through organic Search Engine Optimization (SEO). The company now serves over 1500 clients worldwide and employs a team of nearly 30 specialists, still operating under the tagline "We Get You Found On The Web." This multifaceted company is an industry leader, specializing in organic SEO, Conversion Rate Optimization, SEO-friendly Website Design, Online Advertising, Social Media and more. Mannix Marketing also has one of the largest portfolios of tourism and city guides in Upstate New York. These guides, which include Albany.com, Saratoga.com, LakeGeorge.com, GlensFallsRegion.com, CliftonPark.com and Adirondack.net, reach over 10 million visitors a year. Corresponding social media profiles for the region extend this reach to millions more on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, YouTube and more.