About a week ago, SEOs and Webmasters began noticing a significant change in how Google returned results for a certain set of keywords. Many webmasters felt Google was giving “big brands” a push in the search results. However, Matt Cutts of Google created a video that answered many questions about this “brand push.”
Let me first take you back to last week when on February 20th, a WebmasterWorld thread was created based on some SEOs noticing this change in Google. I then covered the thread at the Search Engine Roundtable on February 23rd, summarizing some of the discussion in the thread. Aaron Wall followed up that post on February 25th, with statistical data to show significant changes in the search results, pointing to evidence behind this brand push. Then we saw dozens of blog posts, discussion forum threads and Twitters from SEOs and webmasters about Google changing their algorithm to give big brands a major push in the search results.
Matt Cutts addressed these concerns in a three and a half minute video, which I have embedded below. Matt Cutts said this change is not necessarily a Google “update,” but rather what he would call a “minor change.” In fact, Matt told us a Googler named Vince created this change and they call it the “Vince change” at Google. He said it is not really about pushing brands to the front of the Google results. It is more about factoring trust more into the algorithm for more generic queries. He said most searchers won’t notice and it does not impact the long tail queries, but for some queries, Google might be factoring in things like trust, quality, PageRank and other metrics that convey the importance and value of a page, into the ranking algorithm. I guess, big brands have earned more trust than smaller brands, which is noted by all the recent chatter in our industry.
Here is the video, listen to it yourself then feel free to chime in, in our detailed Sphinn thread: