Google brand update February 20094
February 2009 has been an important month for SEO’s around the world as some theories were put mainstream by Aaron Wall over at SEO Book. A recent debate had been brewing concerning brands getting more priority over less established sites in natural search? Well it seems that such an update has happened as this is something that I have been monitoring in the very competitive industry of “travel insurance”.
I work on SEO for a number of clients in the travel insurance industry and I started to notice strange listings appearing in the top 10 results. At first I assumed it was Google testing something out, I researched the competitors to see if they had received a sudden impact of link juice, which they hadn’t. What startled me was that some of these websites had very few links in comparison to the usual “top dogs” of the industry. Added to that the actual content on these pages was not great usually and the listings looked completely out of place an irrelevant.
What I did notice was that the sites were .gov or a brand I recognised through other marketing channels, i.e. TV, direct marketing etc. As it’s probably been a week since this update has occurred (I don’t care what Matt Cutts says, this IS AN UPDATE). The random brand websites making an appearance seems to change daily and only one or two websites actually change on the first page, however pages two and three are moving all over the place.
To give you an example of what I mean about this update, look at the screenshot below, displaying the top 10 UK results for Travel Insurance, I have highlighted the term travel insurance to show which listing doesn’t belong in the results.
Now I’m sure this will calm down a bit over the coming weeks but this makes ranking for the smaller brands and sites that much harder and the bigger boys seem to have it easy – More to follow.
Areas to keep an eye on that I will investigate:
- Brand anchor texts
- Brand mentions
- URL anchor texts
- Domain age
- Brand Universal Search