Is There a Recent Big Brand Bias at Google Search?

Feb 23, 2009 • 8:35 am | comments (6) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Google Search Engine

There is an interesting thread at WebmasterWorld that Google may be biased towards showing more and more "big brands" in the top Google web search results.

Yea, yea - big brands have more links, more trust, more pages and bigger budgets to rank better. We all know that. But some are speculating that this month, more than any other month, there was a spike in how Google ranks these big brands.

Tedster, WebmasterWorld's administration, goes as far to possibly imply, and I quote, "Eric Schmidt made some comments that brands were more important."

The question is how would Google do this?

  • Manually?
  • Using social media metrics
  • Linkage data
  • Something else

There is a lot of speculation and concern in that thread right now.

Forum discussion at WebmasterWorld.

Update: Aaron Wall from SEO Book wrote more details, with examples, of this claim. Pretty enlightening, if I must say, so take a look at Aaron's post.

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02/23/2009 02:24 pm

You've got to think what makes a brand, its a name or something very recognisable. A brand is always going to have a large volume of highly relevant link text coming back to the site - just by the nature of it. I'd have thought that if Google modified the importance/weight of the link text, it'd have the effect of boosting brands naturally due to link text theme?

Barry Schwartz

02/23/2009 03:36 pm

Al, agreed and we said that above.

Michael Martinez

02/23/2009 05:01 pm

You guys have to get your heads out of the link weeds. There is far more to building and assessing brand value online than links. I can't speak for Google, but if I wanted to build a brand value algorithm, I would focus less on links and more on semantics. And Google has not only said it would be rolling out new semantic features this year, we've already seen what their new semantic technologies are capable of with Blogsearch (which I still maintain is not as good as it was a few months ago, but the new StoryRank concept is certainly different and appears to be all about semantics).

KJ Rodgers

02/23/2009 07:40 pm

These big brands are going to get the better SERP. They have the capital for large PPC Campaigns, customer loyalty, and are highly requested by consumers. Like Laptop; who doesn't think of Apple?


02/23/2009 07:45 pm

Even without changing Google's current page rank algorithm you are going to see well established brands rank higher. They are more likely to get linked back to from quality sites and its also more likely users will find that result relevant because they recognize the name. I don't think the algorithm changed as much as the competitive environment in the economic downturn.

Rob Abdul

02/24/2009 02:19 am

I agree with Steve.

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