Usability-first Search Engine Optimization

Google Declares “Vince Update” is a Minor Change Only – Not Brand Favoritism

On  March 4, Matt Cutts responded to questions from concerned SEOs and webmasters regarding Google’s apparent shift towards pushing known brands in the Search engine results.

The basic observation made by the SEO community at large is that since February 2009, search results for generic terms such as “car” or “laptop” have been favoring the big brand names more than ever before. Obviously, branded companies boast digital marketing budgets and consumer awareness that greatly surpass lesser known brands, but many, including Aaron Wall, speculate that this month saw a spike in the rankings of brand heavyweights like never before.

In his video response, Matt starts by explaining that while there was a recent change in the algorithm, it was not a major update, rather just one of 300 – 400 simple algorithm changes that Google performs annually. Some of the staff over at Googleplex have nicknamed this algorithm tweak “Vince’s Algorithm Change“, in reference to one of Google’s engineers extensively involved in its completion.

Matt goes on to explain that the concept of “Brand” does not really exist in Google’s indexing system. Instead, the notion of trust (TrustRank) is strengthened, relevant inbound links are discussed as usual, and Matt also touches on some of the other standard Google guidelines.

Take a look at the video. Oh, and for some humor, watch as Matt accidentally mixes his words at 2:48 in. “The um, net update, the net uh upshot of this change is pretty simple…”. Just kidding Matt!

…off to strengthen my brand.