Google Loves Brands

Nov 15th

Sharing is caring!

Please share :)

Embed code is here.

Google Brands.

Published: November 15, 2011

New to the site? Join for Free and get over $300 of free SEO software.

Once you set up your free account you can comment on our blog, and you are eligible to receive our search engine success SEO newsletter.

Already have an account? Login to share your opinions.

Comments

November 15, 2011 - 6:32pm

where it states "September 2006" and then the section goes to "in 2010" ... the larger brand listings started about 5 years ago, and then they made a significant further change to increase the emphasis on that front in 2010.

And here is a humorous Xtranormal video on "brands" from a year ago.

November 15, 2011 - 6:36pm

I love the graphic and I don't entirely disagree with all your points, except I have small business/small brand clients who appear in all seven of those spots (heck, some of my own sites show up in five of em). Which kind of took the wind out of the finish for me.

November 15, 2011 - 7:35pm

...that 100% of the time it will only be the largest brands in the world in these spots.

Rather, it generally says that these trends tend to bias toward / push toward brand.

  • Google suggest - more likely to promote big brands
  • AdWords - assuming small businesses don't get screwed by price gouging (or told that their keyword market is too small to be worthy of inclusion in Google's keyword database) then they can show up as well, but it is becoming more dominated by fewer & larger brands as smaller players get priced out of the market
  • product ads - the CPA version is only available to big brands. smaller companies were allowed to do CPC based bidding only after Google's practices pulled in regulatory & legal scrutiny
  • the branded "stores, brands, types" navigation - typically for big brands
  • product search - typically big brands

I am not saying that search "has no opportunities left for small businesses" but rather that the bias toward brand is certainly closing off many of the opportunities.

And the above biases don't even account for:

  • Google allowing big brands to spam (eg: innocent until proven guilty beyond a shadow of a doubt) vs small businesses being presumed as guilty (eg: guilty until proven innocent beyond a shadow of a doubt)
  • the impacts on inventory & employment for small businesses that don't have vast interlocking supply chains & sales channels where they can re-route stuff
  • algorithms like Panda that smoke non-brands with a high page count
  • Google calling networks of smaller sites "doorway pages" even if they are full ecommerce sites
  • Google arbitrarily whacking AdSense accounts (in addition to the AdWords price gouging mentioned above)
  • Google telling their remote raters to label hotel affiliates as spam even if the sites are useful
  • etc.
November 20, 2011 - 9:45pm

Netmeg, a few quick searches show that you are a Google drone showing up everywhere to "prove" others wrong about Google.

Does Google pay in cash or just in services when your sites tank like that time on Michigan Fire Works when dozens of Googlers hit your site?

@MattCutts, just defended Google again. Love doing this, really. Netmeg

November 16, 2011 - 4:18am

As I small business owner I have been effected. Google is CLEARLY PROMOTING BRANDS!

WHY?

Because brands have the deep pockets to spend on buying advertising from them.

It actually make great business sense from their perspective... even if it risks crushing small business!

Too bad they have moved in this direction...

November 16, 2011 - 7:28am

Brands apparently rule

November 16, 2011 - 7:31pm

What a contribution there from Mingliu23...

Spammers can be so dumb, hey Mingliu... try adding SEObook to your cloud blacklist of places not to spam, in-fact try adding any and all sites that have SEO based communities you moron!

November 16, 2011 - 7:32pm

It was deleted already, making my comment totally irrelevant sorry haha.

November 16, 2011 - 8:08pm

...lots of Louis Vuitton in that absurd comment spam they left, which indeed was brand-related. :D

November 16, 2011 - 9:20pm

Google wants you to build a brand, and in fact they will help you.

Also, I think this info-graphic should have included the 2005 Blog Search patent. Google told us what they were going to do back then. We followed their advice, built authority brands and are having a great time with the new Google.

Just because Brands are the new catch word on Google, does not mean you can't compete. We have two brands, Chris Lang is just one of them and Google is loving me. Sure I have had me runs of bad luck online, but we are always still standing.

November 16, 2011 - 9:47pm
  • In the above I didn't state that you should hate brands, but rather highlighted the rise of Google's weighting on brand.
  • Not all businesses have the margins and/or scale needed to aggressively invest in branding efforts. Branding is a higher level function & businesses often are forced to change what their brands mean & what markets they serve & how they serve them as technology makes certain business models obsolete.
  • In some cases, investing half-way into branding ad campaigns guarantees losses (from the ad cost) without guaranteeing success (few people remember the #3 or #5 player in a market).
  • Geico spends almost a BILLION Dollars per year on advertising.
  • A lot of the biggest brands are decades or centuries old. And among the newer ones, for every Groupon (which also took massive investment to build & is not yet profitable) there are thousands of the small businesses it serves that "just use Groupon" because they don't have the millions required to build a big brand.
November 16, 2011 - 9:53pm

"which indeed was brand-related"

That hurt my ribs a little laughing!

But back on topic, yeah I think you're totally right. I wrote a post being nice about recently after discovering they were doing a lot for charity, but I think that was merely a moment of soft-hearted naivety and wishful thinking. A couple of days later they hit us with the no keywords for logged in users in analytics fiasco, showing their true colours.

Also, big brands are doing fine as it is, they don't need any help... and they supply the worst service anyway in comparison to smaller personal brands that do need help. Google have it backwards if they want to be truly ethical as they state. They're just becoming another fatcat, which is a shame!

November 17, 2011 - 5:38pm

I understand both sides. Of course a "brand" might typically have better content/quality because of their vast resources and virtually unlimited budgets; however, those very same brands can often become stagnant over the years due to fear of change that could result in loss of loyal customers/users.

So, by pumping them in the top of the search results does not create a better experience for the end-user... not by far.

And new companies who are yet to have created a reputation, therefore, have no reputation to lose, can more easily offer a greater end-user experience and/or an edgier, more customized product.

Let's face it... if BMW didn't spend in AdWords, they would have gotten the death penalty that every other site does that can't afford $1M a month in advertising expenses. And that's the truth.

On another note, whatever happened to the 'Block' option in the SERP's? I had a whole bunch of useless "brands" blocked, but they're all back now. Also had About.com, eHow.com, etc., all blocked too, as they fail to offer anything of greater substance than a 5th grader.

Final thoughts... I have become OK with Google being the bullies that they are. How? Why? Because I have loved watching them squirm whilst being squashed by Facebook in the battle of the social networks. That's gotta be uber-embarrassing for the big G seeing as how they have their entire Google network to push the product, and they still failed.

Thanks Aaron... great infographic.

November 18, 2011 - 11:11am

those very same brands can often become stagnant over the years due to fear of change that could result in loss of loyal customers/users.

AT&T was a perfect example of a monopoly holding back a lot of innovation due to fears of cannibalizing existing revenue streams.

So, by pumping them in the top of the search results does not create a better experience for the end-user... not by far.

I think Google is trying to hard to show stuff that is "not risky."

If they show a big brand and that big brand screws you then the fault is customer service from that big brand, or your fault for not asking around before buying. Whereas if they show a smaller company that is riskier to show then perhaps Google absorbs some of the risks in bad transactions.

new companies who are yet to have created a reputation, therefore, have no reputation to lose, can more easily offer a greater end-user experience and/or an edgier, more customized product.

Absolutely right here. The lack of needing to protect an existing model & the limited number of stakeholders & the hunger for the business from newer and smaller competitors make people more willing to go the extra mile.

On another note, whatever happened to the 'Block' option in the SERP's? I had a whole bunch of useless "brands" blocked, but they're all back now. Also had About.com, eHow.com, etc., all blocked too, as they fail to offer anything of greater substance than a 5th grader.

I think they only block it if you are logged into your Google account.

That's gotta be uber-embarrassing for the big G seeing as how they have their entire Google network to push the product, and they still failed.

Every week they add a new type of integration and/or cross promoting: YouTube, the SERPs, Android, websites & author profiles, search ads, display ads, etc. I still think they have a shot at getting people to use it because they feel they have to in order to rank.

November 22, 2011 - 8:00am

Nice - thanks for taking the time to create a resource we all can use. It'll be a nice tool to help when explaining the topic to friends and clients. Certainly helps backup much of the talk about brands that's been going on for sometime.

There's space for small businesses, especially locally, but Google certainly makes it easier for big brands to stay big.

On the flip side, Google did a solid for many small businesses with little resources and knowledge via Google Places.

The ugliness going on with their double standards (through punishments etc...) is hardly something honest people should be comfortable with. I can't blame them though, not showing expected results to the masses does threaten their status as the best SE. Showing those results however does leave them open for an eventual 60 minute special, but few people really care so...

It'd be nice to see them acknowledge shady practices the same across the board. They could do it with a note in search results - Some results have been removed due to violations of Google's TOS - click to see the shady sites we've removed and learn why!

This would make companies think twice before trying to game Google, and prove that Google is a company worth talking about. I'm sure we all agree that it would be nice to have a legit public company in operation.

All this said, Google has done much that I love and appreciate.

November 22, 2011 - 8:40am

It'd be nice to see them acknowledge shady practices the same across the board. They could do it with a note in search results - Some results have been removed due to violations of Google's TOS - click to see the shady sites we've removed and learn why!

The issues are many...

  • a competitor (or disgruntled former employee) could do a shady job for the webmaster
  • some sites are social platforms unaware of how others may use their site in shady ways
  • Google often doesn't follow their own guidelines & invests in some companies that break them
  • after they started hunting "spam" Google's editorial approach has never been about being equitable (see the note in Google's remote rater guidelines about rating hotel affiliate sites as spam, even if they are useful to the end user)
November 22, 2011 - 9:02pm

Great post and great infographic. Had never considered the brand bias on the basis of mitigating risk of legal action - something Google is fated to spend increasing amounts of $$ dealing with or avoiding (lobbyists). Kinda makes sense with their decade old rationale about authority as it relates to medical advice online. If they can shift the burden of 'trust' to the brands, and bury content from sources who can't assume the associated 'risks' of doing business...then they've effectively mitigated their exposure - and f*ck the webmasters, merchants and consumers who produced and/or relied on information that wasn't somehow 'sanctioned'.

November 23, 2011 - 12:28pm

Netmeg, a few quick searches show that you are a Google drone showing up everywhere to "prove" others wrong about Google.

November 23, 2011 - 1:23pm

Interesting theory, Aaron, but the data shows it's more tinfoil hat than truth. Curious how you would explain the complete absence of brands in high volume search results for queries like [black friday], [deal of the day], [daily deals], [cranberry recipes], etc, and the obvious strength of affiliate sites like simplyrecipes.com compared to a brand site competitor campbellkitchen.com. Also, understanding how search engines work, you must understand that search suggest and query refinements are based on search volume, not some odd conspiracy against affiliates? People are searching for brands, and Google is doing what a good search engine should do, which is giving people what they're searching for. Also, having worked in the last ten years with some of the biggest brands in the world, it's obvious that certain aspects of how search engines work favor affiliates who can implement quickly and don't have design and legal restrictions to those big brands who move slowly and have design departments that want to build everything in Flash and legal and brand departments that want to use their own words, not the words of consumers. Savvy affiliates should stop complaining and leverage the many advantages they have over big brands. More detail and data here if you would care to respond: http://www.brysonmeunier.com/does-google-have-a-brand-bias/

Best,
Bryson

November 23, 2011 - 10:18pm

... how much money would that be worth? $5 a day? $30 a day? During the high holiday season?

Maybe 1 or 2 clicks a day for [auto insurance] or [car insurance] worth of traffic for a month or 2.

Now compare that to the branded search results for those insurance keywords...see who is getting HUNDREDS of those clicks EVERY DAY OF THE YEAR.

Likewise with Black Friday. Someone might make $10,000 or $50,000 on a pay day there, but it lasts a couple days and is over. It is not like keywords for insurance or credit cards where brands are raking in 4 or 5 figures per day per core keyword.

November 28, 2011 - 3:24am

If you're Oceanspray and you've built your entire business around cranberries, having a number one listing for cranberry sauce a few days before Thanksgiving can be more valuable than a super bowl ad. It's not just about direct response for all advertisers. CPG companies are generally going to measure themselves by brand awareness, and getting visibility to someone who is raising their hand letting the cranberry manufacturers know that they're about to buy cranberries can be extremely valuable to that advertiser, in spite of its lack of direct revenue.

As for Black Friday, the volume for those few days is 1/4 of what insurance is for the entire year in the US (http://www.google.com/insights/search/#q=black%20friday%2Cinsurance&geo=...), so I think you're underestimating the potential. You're also still thinking about the direct revenue that the listing would bring to affiliates, and not about the potential sales offline that it could bring to a retailer like Walmart or Target. There's a reason that retailers spend so much preparing for Black Friday, and it's not $50,000. :)

As for insurance keywords specifically, why are you blaming Google when the large brands themselves in that space are likely spending millions on SEO? It's not uncommon for large companies to hire someone like us even when they have large in-house SEO teams, which GEICO likely does according to this profile of their SEO Manager to 2010 (http://www.linkedin.com/in/katiemoriarty), and Allstate does, as I believe they use Digitas and I've been approached by their teams at conferences before, and here's esurance's SEO team on Linkedin : http://www.linkedin.com/search/fpsearch?keywords=seo&searchLocationType=.... It's not so much that Google loves big brands as that big brands are finally seeing the opportunity in search and doing SEO.

Oddly, though, for the query [insurance] in Google I'm seeing personalized, localized results in Chicago, which along with large nationwide insurance companies bring me small brands I've never heard of like "AMA Insurance", "Norvax Inc", "Go Health Insurance," etc. In spite of having an entire SEO team in-house working for natural visibility, esurance is barely on the first page for me. This doesn't work well for your theory.

What are the terms though, that you would like to test for this, and what is your definition of brand, exactly? Is SimplyRecipes.com a brand, or an affiliate, or both? If we can come up with a methodology that you think would yield compelling results, we should actually study this and determine if the brand bias exists. As it is, an infographic, while visually stimulating, doesn't tell us much.

BTW, thank you for your response, and for posing controversial and complicated questions like these that make our jobs a little more interesting. I don't agree with you, based on what I've seen, but I do appreciate the discussion, and hope it continues.

Best,
Bryson

November 28, 2011 - 8:52am

If you're Oceanspray and you've built your entire business around cranberries, having a number one listing for cranberry sauce a few days before Thanksgiving can be more valuable than a super bowl ad. It's not just about direct response for all advertisers. CPG companies are generally going to measure themselves by brand awareness, and getting visibility to someone who is raising their hand letting the cranberry manufacturers know that they're about to buy cranberries can be extremely valuable to that advertiser, in spite of its lack of direct revenue.

If those companies believed this then at a minimum I would expect them to run AdWords ads for those keywords. I just searched for "cranberries" and saw no ads from them. I also searched for Bing & they are not advertising there either (so it is not just a case of Google suggesting the quality score is too low to show ads).

The only Ocean Spray listing I saw was an article from MSNBC that was anything but flattering: "Ocean Spray Craisins recalled because of metal fragments."

Suffice it to say, if Ocean Spray agrees with you, then their CMO should be fired yesterday.

As for Black Friday, the volume for those few days is 1/4 of what insurance is for the entire year in the US so I think you're underestimating the potential. You're also still thinking about the direct revenue that the listing would bring to affiliates, and not about the potential sales offline that it could bring to a retailer like Walmart or Target. There's a reason that retailers spend so much preparing for Black Friday, and it's not $50,000. :)

A 2% affiliate commission is not the same thing as total retail sales. That said, it is easy to highlight the retail sales volume to overstate the potential as well...I mean some of those retail companies have 1% to 3% margins. A billion Dollars in revenues sounds like a lot of money. But at a 1% margin that is only $10 million. The reason insurance is a great comparison against retail is that if you add up TOTAL year-round retail sales...that entire market in the US is only about 1/3rd the size of the finance, insurance & real estate (FIRE) market.

As for insurance keywords specifically, why are you blaming Google when the large brands themselves in that space are likely spending millions on SEO? It's not uncommon for large companies to hire someone like us even when they have large in-house SEO teams, which GEICO likely does according to this profile of their SEO Manager to 2010, and Allstate does, as I believe they use Digitas and I've been approached by their teams at conferences before, and here's esurance's SEO team on Linkedin : .... It's not so much that Google loves big brands as that big brands are finally seeing the opportunity in search and doing SEO.

Not to fault any of the people you singled out (which I did not single out), but more generally...in terms of corporate brand SEO stuff, if the love was from their skill rather than algorithmic skew then there wouldn't be updates like Vince & Matt Cutts wouldn't have suggested that we put sites like x over here and sites like y over there during the Panda update. And there wouldn't have been messages in Politically Illustrated about a backdoor deal between Google & the OPA.

Oddly, though, for the query [insurance] in Google I'm seeing personalized, localized results in Chicago, which along with large nationwide insurance companies bring me small brands I've never heard of like "AMA Insurance", "Norvax Inc", "Go Health Insurance," etc. In spite of having an entire SEO team in-house working for natural visibility, esurance is barely on the first page for me. This doesn't work well for your theory.

Google ramped up on local because it often allows them to eat the second click. After they did that they also ramped up on brand further. Talk to the thousands of small ecommerce businesses that were torched and ask them if the local bias helps offset the brand bias...for them each of those algorithmic adjustments was just another kick in the nuts.

What are the terms though, that you would like to test for this, and what is your definition of brand, exactly? Is SimplyRecipes.com a brand, or an affiliate, or both? If we can come up with a methodology that you think would yield compelling results, we should actually study this and determine if the brand bias exists.

For starters, how about the terms I already highlighted during the Vince update?

Nice neat buckets are wonderful to use when trying to debunk something, but the reality is some concepts in marketing are a bit fuzzy and some websites can serve multiple rolls. Barnes & Nobles has affiliate rug sales offers on their site while being a brand. Amazon.com has recently dialed up on displaying ads for 3rd party websites, while still being a brand. Google's search results have added many affiliate links to them, while Google is still a brand.

As it is, an infographic, while visually stimulating, doesn't tell us much.

So if Google puts AT THE TOP OF THE ORGANIC SEARCH RESULTS listings where it says "brands: _brand_a_ _brand_b_ _brand_c_ that doesn't tell us much? Seriously?

And their CEO suggesting that "brands are how you sort out the cesspool" is also irrelevant?

I am not sure if you are just posturing to appeal to current & potential clients, but if you are not I am not sure what more one can say to confirm something beyond grabbing confirming quotes from BOTH the CEO and leading engineers.

I also love this quote from Upton Sinclair: "It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it!"

November 28, 2011 - 11:36pm

If those companies believed this then at a minimum I would expect them to run AdWords ads for those keywords. I just searched for "cranberries" and saw no ads from them. I also searched for Bing & they are not advertising there either (so it is not just a case of Google suggesting the quality score is too low to show ads).
The only Ocean Spray listing I saw was an article from MSNBC that was anything but flattering: "Ocean Spray Craisins recalled because of metal fragments."
Suffice it to say, if Ocean Spray agrees with you, then their CMO should be fired yesterday.

Aaron, as the author of SEOBook, you should understand that a site that uses Home | Oceanspray for its title tag hasn’t spent a lot of time thinking about SEO. And if they have an SEO or search marketing firm, they probably should be fired, because they didn’t help the client succeed. If they don’t have an SEO team or agency it wouldn’t surprise me, as CPG companies are rooted in traditional marketing and typically slow to adapt new ways of thinking. This is largely why Google released their winning the Zero Moment of Truth manifesto earlier in the year, pointing out to CMOs the real opportunity in digital, and specifically search and mobile.

However, just because Ocean Spray doesn’t have their stuff together doesn’t mean that other companies in the CPG space are lost as well. We have a client in the beverage market for paid search who bids on [sports drink], not because people are going to buy sports drinks online, but because they’re using search as a branding channel, and want to be top of mind when a searcher raises their hand and says they’re interested in something that the brand is highly relevant for. Enquiro/Mediative put out research a few years ago with Google that demonstrates how search is a great channel for branding, and savvy brand managers have since shifted funds from traditional marketing to a channel where they can more easily track the results. And judging from the other brands buying relevant keywords for everything from sports drink (Gatorade, Red Bull, FRS, Hammer, Powerade, Coke) to hair gel (Tresseme, Herbal Essences, Garnier) to toothbrush (Oral B) to recipes (Kraft), it seems we’re not the only marketers who are having success with this.

As for Black Friday, the volume for those few days is 1/4 of what insurance is for the entire year in the US so I think you're underestimating the potential. You're also still thinking about the direct revenue that the listing would bring to affiliates, and not about the potential sales offline that it could bring to a retailer like Walmart or Target. There's a reason that retailers spend so much preparing for Black Friday, and it's not $50,000. :)
A 2% affiliate commission is not the same thing as total retail sales. That said, it is easy to highlight the retail sales volume to overstate the potential as well...I mean some of those retail companies have 1% to 3% margins. A billion Dollars in revenues sounds like a lot of money. But at a 1% margin that is only $10 million. The reason insurance is a great comparison against retail is that if you add up TOTAL year-round retail sales...that entire market in the US is only about 1/3rd the size of the finance, insurance & real estate (FIRE) market.

I’m actually saying that a two percent affiliate commission is not the same as total retail sales, so I’m not sure why you’re repeating me.

As for insurance keywords specifically, why are you blaming Google when the large brands themselves in that space are likely spending millions on SEO? It's not uncommon for large companies to hire someone like us even when they have large in-house SEO teams, which GEICO likely does according to this profile of their SEO Manager to 2010, and Allstate does, as I believe they use Digitas and I've been approached by their teams at conferences before, and here's esurance's SEO team on Linkedin : .... It's not so much that Google loves big brands as that big brands are finally seeing the opportunity in search and doing SEO.
Not to fault any of the people you singled out (which I did not single out), but more generally...in terms of corporate brand SEO stuff, if the love was from their skill rather than algorithmic skew then there wouldn't be updates like Vince & Matt Cutts wouldn't have suggested that we put sites like x over here and sites like y over there during the Panda update. And there wouldn't have been messages in Politically Illustrated about a backdoor deal between Google & the OPA.

Politically Illustrated? This is a reliable source?

As for insurance SEOs, I didn’t present anything that wasn’t public information. If these SEOs don’t want people to know who they work for they shouldn’t put it on Linkedin.

And as Matt Cutts explains later in this response, Panda and the Vince change weren’t about brands, but about trust, authority, reputation, quality, etc. Affiliates and brands can be affected by low quality content, not just small businesses or affiliates.

Oddly, though, for the query [insurance] in Google I'm seeing personalized, localized results in Chicago, which along with large nationwide insurance companies bring me small brands I've never heard of like "AMA Insurance", "Norvax Inc", "Go Health Insurance," etc. In spite of having an entire SEO team in-house working for natural visibility, esurance is barely on the first page for me. This doesn't work well for your theory.
Google ramped up on local because it often allows them to eat the second click. After they did that they also ramped up on brand further. Talk to the thousands of small ecommerce businesses that were torched and ask them if the local bias helps offset the brand bias...for them each of those algorithmic adjustments was just another kick in the nuts.

It does help small businesses with unrecognizable brands, though, and doesn’t fit neatly into your theory.

What are the terms though, that you would like to test for this, and what is your definition of brand, exactly? Is SimplyRecipes.com a brand, or an affiliate, or both? If we can come up with a methodology that you think would yield compelling results, we should actually study this and determine if the brand bias exists.
For starters, how about the terms I already highlighted during the Vince update?

Okay, but why did you choose these particular terms? And why only 7? If we want to make it scientific we need to define our methodology and follow the scientific method, which it doesn’t appear that you’ve done here. If you’d like to do that I’m more than happy to comply, but I need you to work with me, not argue with me.

Nice neat buckets are wonderful to use when trying to debunk something, but the reality is some concepts in marketing are a bit fuzzy and some websites can serve multiple rolls [sic]. Barnes & Nobles [sic] has affiliate rug sales offers on their site while being a brand. Amazon.com has recently dialed up on displaying ads for 3rd party websites, while still being a brand. Google's search results have added many affiliate links to them, while Google is still a brand.

You put these concepts in neat buckets. It is incumbent upon you to define why you did so. I’m the one arguing that websites can serve multiple roles, and you’re the one saying that Google favors brands without addressing affiliates that are attempting to become brands, like FatWallet, SimplyRecipes, AllRecipes, etc. If we’re going to test this we will need to define what we mean by brand for the purpose of labeling, which you don’t seem interested in doing.

As it is, an infographic, while visually stimulating, doesn't tell us much.
So if Google puts AT THE TOP OF THE ORGANIC SEARCH RESULTS listings where it says "brands: _brand_a_ _brand_b_ _brand_c_ that doesn't tell us much? Seriously?

Yes, seriously. You know as well as I do that this is based on search behavior. People search for brands as they do for stores and as they do for types. Google sees what you and I would see if we put ambiguous queries in the keyword tool, which is the ambiguous term paired with brands, stores and types. Take appliances for example, which is an ambiguous query where these related searches come up. If we look at the top related queries for appliances, this is what we see:

number Top searches for appliances index category
1 sears 100 store
2 sears appliances 100 store
3 ge appliances 70 brand
4 ge 70 brand
5 home appliances 45 type
6 kitchen appliances 40 type
7 lowes 40 store
8 lowes appliances 40 store
9 home depot appliances 25 store
10 used appliances 25 type
11 lg 25 brand
12 lg appliances 25 brand
13 viking appliances 20 brand
14 viking 20 brand
15 whirlpool 20 brand
16 whirlpool appliances 20 brand
17 bosch 20 brand
18 bosch appliances 20 brand
19 refrigerator 15 type
20 best buy appliances 15 store
21 kenmore 15 brand
22 kenmore appliances 15 brand
23 maytag appliances 10 brand
24 maytag 10 brand
25 discount appliances 10 type
26 refrigerators 10 type
27 wolf appliances 10 brand
28 kitchenaid 10 brand
29 kitchenaid appliances 10 brand
30 general electric appliances 10 brand
31 general electric 10 brand
32 stainless steel appliances 10 type
33 frigidaire appliances 10 brand
34 frigidaire 10 brand
35 small appliances 10 type
36 electrolux appliances 5 brand
37 electrolux 5 brand
38 cash for appliances 5
39 consumer reports appliances 5
40 samsung appliances 5 brand
41 cheap appliances 5 type
42 kitchen aid 5 brand
43 kitchen aid appliances 5 brand
44 sears outlet 5 store
45 ge profile appliances 5 brand
46 american appliances 5 store
47 appliances online 5
48 sears.com 5 store
49 sears.com appliances 5 store
50 amana appliances 5 brand

When we do quick math we see that 94% of the queries and almost 99% of the index can easily be classified according to searches for brands, stores or types. Do you really think it’s a coincidence that Google, whose success in organic search depends on its ability to quickly satisfy a user’s intent, puts these refinements here for ambiguous queries because they love brands so much? Do they also love stores and types? Seriously? If you really believe that Google did this for nefarious reasons and not because it improves their search engine, you don’t know much about how Google works, and you should take off your tinfoil hat for a few minutes to figure it out.

Also, just because you put something in all caps does not make it profound. Just looks like you’re shouting, which is not a way to win an argument.

And their CEO suggesting that “brands are how you sort out the cesspool” is also irrelevant?

He’s not their CEO any more. You know as well as I do that a lot has changed at Google since Larry Page took over in April. Something that their former CEO said more than three years ago honestly isn’t that relevant in an industry that moves as fast as ours does. That being said, you took his quote out of context. What he was saying is that people want and trust brands, and he was saying it in order to get magazine publishing executives to consider digital in addition to traditional marketing. Google sees that users are searching for brands, so it probably seems to them that, as Schmidt said in that same article, "“Brand affinity is clearly hard wired," he said. "It is so fundamental to human existence that it's not going away. It must have a genetic component."" Google’s job, again, is to remain relevant in the marketplace by providing searchers information they need quickly, or searchers are going to get that information elsewhere (Facebook, Twitter, Bing, Siri or other competitors who might provide more relevant results). If searchers are looking for brands and Google doesn’t have content from those brands to show, they can’t do their job effectively. You’re also implying that Google will show brands ahead of affiliates or other sites that might be relevant to the query, but that’s ridiculous when you consider what Eric Schmidt said in the same article you took this quote from:
""We don't actually want [the audience of publishers who are also brands] to be successful," he said. The company's algorithms are trying to find the most relevant search results, after all, not the sites that best game the system. "The fundamental way to increase your rank is to increase your relevance," he added. "

If you read this article in context it’s crystal clear that he’s saying Google’s organic search results are impartial to brands and strive to provide relevant information be it from brands or stores or types or affiliates or whatever. The fact that you left this out of your analysis suggests to me that you’re either not a very critical reader or you have an agenda to push and you’re omitting information that doesn’t fit that agenda. Either way it needs to be said in order to make sense of what Eric Schmidt said to those magazine publishers almost three years ago.

But yes, if you have something that’s more recent that makes sense in context, I can see how that would be relevant. And if it came from Larry Page, the current CEO, it would be compelling because of his position in the company, in which he sets the direction for where Google will be strategically in the market. Google also has a search ranking team, however, and webmaster evangelists, and as I showed recently in Search Engine Land, Google can contradict themselves in the press about issues that are important to us. If you get Amit Singhal, Ben Gomes, Johanna Wright, Jonathan Effrat, Othar Hansson, Scott Huffman and most of their board of directors and executives to say that brands are more important than affiliates for search quality, then I would stop talking and cede you the floor. You won’t be able to do that, however, because you couldn’t even get two quotes without pulling them out of context.

Not just with Eric Schmidt, but the quote you provided from Matt Cutts isn’t even about brands. It’s about trust, authority, quality and reputation. If you want to get a direct quote from Matt Cutts on brands, you should use the one that he gave you when he responded to your theory back during the Vince change, which I posted already in comments on my blog: “But you know inside of Google, at least within the search ranking team, we don’t really think about brands. We think about words like trust, authority, reputation, PageRank, high quality. And so the Google philosophy on search results has been the same pretty much forever. It’s that if somebody comes to Google and types an X, we want to return high quality information about X. And sometimes that’s a brand search, sometimes that’s an informational search, sometimes it’s transactional, so there are all sorts of different information needs that people have.” Honestly I’m surprised you’re still talking about this after Matt Cutts put it that way. You either use an argument from authority or you don’t. You can’t have it both ways, and you can’t just ignore evidence that doesn’t conform to your theories. At least not if you’re talking to a reasonable audience.

I am not sure if you are just posturing to appeal to current & potential clients, but if you are not I am not sure what more one can say to confirm something beyond grabbing confirming quotes from BOTH the CEO and leading engineers.

If you want quotes, I just gave you two quotes from the same people you cited that disprove your theory. And no, you still haven’t gotten me a quote from the current CEO.

This isn’t about posturing; it’s about cutting through the nonsense and getting to the truth of the matter. It’s amazing to me sometimes that people take what you say and parrot the sound bites like they’re gospel truth when you sometimes post stuff like this that seems to be agenda-driven, as it omits quite a bit of contradictory evidence in favor of whatever theory you have. I think a lot of people are intimidated by you, and some people just have better things to do than point out your errors, but we’re never going to move forward as an industry if we’re stuck on debating theories that are based on information that’s taken out of context while ignoring contradictory information. I know you’re wrong in this case and I’m not afraid to stand up and show you why. You can do whatever you want with that information, but hopefully some people will read what you’ve written and read what I’ve written and think twice about what you said. Because, honestly, it doesn’t make sense. If you can still subscribe to this theory after everything I have shown you, then I don’t know what to tell you. But hopefully some reasonable people out there will see the light, and maybe think more critically the next time they read something from an SEO guru, instead of taking it on authority that it’s the truth. I’m responsible for the success and training of a team of 20+ SEOs, and when they see stuff like this that seems suspect, I want them to call it out. I am therefore walking the walk.

I also love this quote from Upton Sinclair: "It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it!"

Others have pointed out my brand bias in the comments of my blog, but as I pointed out there, they’re unfounded. I work with large brands, small brands, all types of brands, and I have white hat affiliate sites that I use for testing purposes. In all cases I’ve been able to find great success in Google’s natural search results regardless of the type of client, and I’d be doing fine if the pendulum of brands and affiliates actually defied all of the evidence I’ve presented to you and swung one way or the other.

Plus, I majored in English in undergrad, and Upton Sinclair’s not that good of a writer.

You, though… your clients are mostly affiliates, no? Might Sinclair’s quote just as easily apply to you? What would you do if Google said they didn’t have a brand bias (as they did), and the organic results were in fact the way they are not to get brands more traffic, but to provide the most relevant result for the most relevant query? Wouldn’t that mean you’ve been wasting your time and your readers’ time talking about it for over years? That can’t be good for business, can it?

Look, I think most people are going to believe you here because of your reputation, and because they aren’t good enough SEOs to know any better; but it’s a shame, as what you’re saying isn’t based in reality. I think more people in the industry need to question the status quo when it doesn’t seem right, even if it’s coming from someone who has a reputation for providing quality information. Though I’ve never been afraid to do that, I’m now high up enough in the organization I’m a part of that I’m less involved in client projects directly, and have more time to contribute to the industry by calling out nonsense like this when I see it.

I don’t have that much time, though, especially when it seems from your comments that I may be talking to a wall (pun intended). I have paying clients, a wife and two infant children that deserve my time a little more than you do, but I wanted to respond fully to your comments. If you’d care to address the issues I’ve presented and explain how your theory works even with the conflicting evidence that you’ve omitted, I’m sure we’d all love to hear it. If not, best of luck to you in your endeavors.

I’m also pitching this topic to SMX West, so if you’d prefer to discuss it in that, slightly more impartial to you forum, I’d be happy to include you on the pitch.

Best,
Bryson

November 29, 2011 - 12:51am

Okay, but why did you choose these particular terms? And why only 7?

I looked at random terms from SearchPlulse's list of top 1000 most competitive keywords. Originally I took screenshots for about 30 or 40 keywords...but given that the post was already about 10 pages long I didn't think examples 10 through 800 would add much more to the post (other than the time it took to create it).

I’m the one arguing that websites can serve multiple roles, and you’re the one saying that Google favors brands without addressing affiliates that are attempting to become brands

I suggested that once a site has brand it can do things that would be considered spam if a lesser site did the same thing. So a brand can add affiliate pages or tons of ads or other things and it is fine, whereas if a lesser site does the same thing it is spam.

If you really believe that Google did this for nefarious reasons and not because it improves their search engine, you don’t know much about how Google works, and you should take off your tinfoil hat for a few minutes to figure it out.

I believe that Google does what is politically convenient and profitable for Google.

  • Google allowed GoogleBombing to go on for years and "couldn't do anything about it" then when they feared it could interfere with some powerful people in uncomfortable ways they defused it (except for Santorum)
  • Google monetized IP theft as many ways as they could (recommending warez & hacks keywords, having 50,000 advertisers dealing in counterfeit goods, etc.) to try to force the brands to need to buy into the ad auction to re-buy (& protect) their existing brand equity. Then after Google did a half-billion Dollar settlement that practice stopped.

Now that Google has drawn regulatory scrutiny and wants a taste of the TV ad market they are respecting copyright a bit more.

He’s not their CEO any more. You know as well as I do that a lot has changed at Google since Larry Page took over in April.

And has their been a legitimate change in editorial search strategy since then? I have read the 2011 remote rater guidelines for AdWords and organic search. And I have read past ones.

it’s crystal clear that he’s saying Google’s organic search results are impartial to brands and strive to provide relevant information be it from brands or stores or types or affiliates or whatever.

Based on that comment, I am 100% certain you have not read their remote rater guidelines, which state: "Major cosmopolitan cities are preferred targets for spammers, especially hotel affiliates. Such results should be flagged as Spam, even if they are related to the query and helpful to users. For example, a hotel affiliate page with a list of Chicago hotels may be assigned a rating Relevant, but also receive a Spam flag."

If you get Amit Singhal, Ben Gomes, Johanna Wright, Jonathan Effrat, Othar Hansson, Scott Huffman and most of their board of directors and executives to say that brands are more important than affiliates for search quality, then I would stop talking and cede you the floor. You won’t be able to do that, however, because you couldn’t even get two quotes without pulling them out of context.

This is what you miss. Google is great at public relations, thus I wouldn't expect them to intentionally air their dirty self-serving business strategies.

  • Indeed, whenever they have court proceedings they try to get the documents sealed such that none of it leaks. When the stuff does become public some of Google's sleazy business practices (like this) are seen.
  • There was no neon lighting graphic on their homepage saying "we sell illegal drugs" ... that practice was done quietly in the background.

However there is 1 set of documents that DOES reveal their editorial strategy (built by the likes of Amit Singhal, Scott Huffman, etc.) better than anything they do public: their confidential internal rater documents...which I have read and you obviously have not (based on your comments).

your clients are mostly affiliates, no?

We have a diverse range (consultants, big brands, small brands, affiliates, etc.)

However, if I was trying to make sales & I was going out of my way to sell to affiliates then I wouldn't be suggesting how Google is trying to crush affiliates. Rather I would be talking up brand in SEO & making endless posts about enterprise SEO.

I am interested in sharing the trends rather than making sales.

Look, I think most people are going to believe you here because of your reputation, and because they aren’t good enough SEOs to know any better; but it’s a shame, as what you’re saying isn’t based in reality.

That was a pretty trollish comment there: "anyone who believes you isn't good at their craft"

The thing you miss is how much wider my lens of the market is than yours. I have worked with one of the top three portals, one of the top three retailers, lots of other big brands, lots of small businesses, built our own sites from scratch, etc.

I have no time to sit in an ivory tower.

I’m now high up enough in the organization I’m a part of that I’m less involved in client projects directly

Ah, so your view from the ivory tower is more accurate than the views of someone who is neck deep in projects every day.

I bet.

One of us is full of crap & it isn't me.

November 29, 2011 - 4:40pm

Ah, so your view from the ivory tower is more accurate than the views of someone who is neck deep in projects every day.

Ivory Tower? What is this, Fox News? Get over yourself. You’re an internet marketer like the rest of us. This isn’t a presidential debate. In the public sphere, no one really knows who we are. Here’s you next to Herman Cain and Angelina Jolie if there was any doubt.

My increasing apathy about talking to you isn’t based on elitism, it’s based on you creating theories that aren’t based on evidence, me addressing them soundly, sometimes even by providing quotes directly from the people you quoted as evidence against you, and then you ignoring that and moving on to something else you think is important. This isn’t a discussion we’re having, it’s a flame war.

The thing you miss is how much wider my lens of the market is than yours. I have worked with one of the top three portals, one of the top three retailers, lots of other big brands, lots of small businesses, built our own sites from scratch, etc.

Not wider than mine, just wider than I gave you credit for. So I guess both of us made incorrect assumptions about the other. Here's one thing I will probably never hear you say: I stand corrected.

However there is 1 set of documents that DOES reveal their editorial strategy (built by the likes of Amit Singhal, Scott Huffman, etc.) better than anything they do public: their confidential internal rater documents...which I have read and you obviously have not (based on your comments).

I did read the quality rater’s handbook, of course. It addresses hotel affiliates specifically, not affiliates in general. Again your critical reading skills are failing you. Because that particular category is likely to be targeted by spammers, it makes sense for Google to flag it to be looked at by a member of the spam team. And if that comment affected the actual search results, newyorkhotels.com wouldn’t be the number one result for the keyword [new York hotels] at the moment, and [chicagohotels.org] wouldn’t be on the first page for [Chicago hotels], because both sites are affiliate sites and both would have been flagged as spam by quality raters. Yet they’re still in the results. Why? Because one quote in a quality rater’s handbook or an AdAge article or a Matt Cutts keynote doesn’t mean that Google believes affiliates are all spammers. I’m sorry to keep on punching holes in your theories that you keep on sidestepping, but at some point you may have to come to the realization that you are wrong.

I’m not going to be here to see that though. I’ve wasted enough time here.

December 1, 2011 - 4:45am

"theories that aren’t based on evidence"

Pro tip: if you have to wait for Google to endorse your business model & strategy explicitly before you act then you are certain to be behind the curve when compared against those who are willing to test things out. ;)

November 24, 2011 - 6:32pm

"[black friday], [deal of the day], [daily deals]"

When I type "daily deals" i want daily deals, not BestBuy or Walmart only daily deals.

Google has admitted that brands are the key to their riches, yet you say they aren't doing it. Who to believe, my own lying eyes+Google's comments+their earnings or your biased opinions?

November 28, 2011 - 3:47am

Frankie, if you look at the related searches for Black Friday, you can see that many searchers add the brands to their query strings, which indicate that they're actually looking for Black Friday specials for one brand, not all of them. And according to Yahoo! Clues, searchers who refine black friday type the word walmart in three out of the next five queries (http://clues.yahoo.com/analysis#q1=black%20friday&q2=&tu=month&nu=1&h=2&...). Search engines use data points like these to infer that searchers actually want Black Friday content related to one brand, not all of them.

I addressed the problem of taking two employees out of more than 20k and assuming it represents the company's viewpoint in the comments of my original post, so I'm not going to do it again here. Besides, if you take Matt Cutts' word as gospel, he said after the Vince update that Google doesn't think in terms of brands (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LMfWPWUh5uU&feature=youtu.be&t=45s), but in terms of authority, which is likely what he was talking about when the quote above was taken out of context.

Also, how am I biased? I've worked with clients of all sizes, affiliates and brands (and affiliates with brands) and have seen this phenomenon across the board. But I didn't give you an opinion that I pulled out of the air. I gave you the search results that Aaron said should be affected by this brand bias. Are the Google search results lying to your "lying eyes" then? Really? Also, you mention their earnings, but Google wouldn't exist without AdWords and AdSense revenue from brands and affiliates. They even have their own affiliate network for heaven's sake: http://www.google.com/ads/affiliatenetwork/. How can you be successfully monetizing the affiliate channel and subverting affiliates at the same time? Doesn't make much sense to me.

November 28, 2011 - 9:03am

How can you be successfully monetizing the affiliate channel and subverting affiliates at the same time? Doesn't make much sense to me.

  • Read Google's remote rater guidelines where they state that affiliate hotel websites should be "labeled as spam" even if they "are useful."
  • In that same market, here is Google going after other pieces of the supply chain...first they buy ITA Software & then this:

    Wertheimer, “announced that the search engine giant has decided to exclude online travel agencies such as Expedia, Priceline, Travelocity and metasearch sites like Kayak from their flight search results. A search on Google will only return airline results.” Apparently, in Wertheimer’s words, “the airlines don’t want the online travel agents included.”

November 24, 2011 - 9:32am

Can't really see what the problem is here, you can still brand as a small business, you can focus on local branding in your SEO and not aim for global branding, but even a small bar can brand itself throughout a city with the right balance of online and offline marketing

November 24, 2011 - 11:34am

...then the associated brand signal will be too small for Google to give you any of that brand boost. On content, tools, travel, and advertising I have surely spent 7 figures on SEO Book. I also have worked on it for nearly a decade (likely an average of 60 hours per week). However a decade with a million Dollars of spend is too small to get any brand boost in the algorithm.

Meanwhile, the websites of bankrupt brands - like Circuit City - get auctioned off & brand is just one more tool in the SEO toolbox for those who have enough money to buy the signal.

November 25, 2011 - 12:52am

Tell that to a small shop that's without much revenue since Panda.

The problem is that an advertising company cannot favor its advertisers this blatantly.

November 25, 2011 - 9:43am

I think many webmasters know that Google king is naked. (Only you Aaron is the one who says is so bravely. )
They don't want to believe that the search result are shifted and the "system" manipulates the game.
Sorry to say so, but it not a fair play and since Panda it is even worse.

December 9, 2011 - 2:04pm

Do not know about the brand and all but yes google is giving importance to many websites who provide pirtaed music.

Now this is interesting.

December 17, 2011 - 8:44pm

This is by far the most annoying article i have read in almost 2.5 years of SEO! Bloody ba****ds, the more search engine market share they have the more they are p***ing on us. Please, correct me if i'm wrong!

Perhaps ones able to should consider building a new search engine, something fear and square for everybody! I just can't get off my mind the BMW clocking thing - rules just don't apply to brands? Keeping proportions, it's like brands would be able to kill people offline... so what? jail?!? no, they are brands, they can do whatever they want without consequences! Nice one google, please continue wasting our bloody time with guidelines while basically encouraging brands to ignore them. This IS NOT FEAR and what goes around comes around!!!

This is the second (much more bigger) disappointment for me after the "google is hardcoding thing". I think i lived in a dream world, honestly (stupidly!) believing that this guys are pros. Nope, just another search engine... perhaps with less ethics than most companies on the web!!! Excuse me, google still has some ethics left... right?

December 20, 2011 - 5:49am

Your posts here are simply ridiculous.

December 20, 2011 - 3:54pm

...if you disagree with someone it is helpful to explain why rather than just stating their comments are ridiculous without any further explanation.

December 20, 2011 - 7:08pm

Brilliantly argued, madhatterseo. I'll just assume that your ad hominem attack means you can't address any of the points I made then.

Aaron, thanks for the support. Still don't agree with your argument, but I do appreciate that you're trying to keep this discourse civil.

December 25, 2011 - 1:02am

Aaron - Agreed sir. My post was terse and lacking substance. Still, as "merry" captures the spirit of this time of year, so "ridiculous" captures Bryson's posts here. I believe both sentiments are obvious to the average Joe.

Dear Bryson - Of course I can't address any points you made. You got me. Oh, just in case your ego got in the way there, that was sarcasm.

Merry Christmas to all,

Exhibit of ridiculousness exhibit A
Bryson's latest post mentions "discourse civil," as if Bryson actually thinks his posts here are civil. Augmentative and egotistical, yes. But Civil? Bryson, you might want to look up "civil discourse".

Exhibit of ridiculousness exhibit B
The shameless self-promotion of his yet to be accepted pitch for SMX. Thanks for the heads up Bryson. I do hope you get the spot. It will make the process of elimination that much easier in determining which session not to go to at the show.

Exhibit of ridiculousness exhibit C
The attempt to draw Aaron to your blog. Maybe you didn't notice, but Aaron has his own site where "civil discourse" happens. If this wasn't silly/desperate, I don't know what is.

Exhibit of ridiculousness exhibit D
The point-for-point rebuttal. Did you have the week off from work? Or do you have an ax to grind? Maybe a self-confidence issue? Regardless, who has the time to do this? See the silly/desperate comment from exhibit C.

Exhibit of ridiculousness exhibit E
Calling out other companies and, even better, linking to the Linkedin.com pages. You have no idea what these people do everyday, how much they spend or what their measure of success is. Still, you see fit to call them out and then defend it by saying, "If they didn't want me to use them as an example, they wouldn't have put up a Linkedin account." I'm not sure if you really know what Linkedin is for and I don't have the time to explain it to you.

And last but not least, Exhibit of ridiculousness exhibit F
I have access to a lot of data, and I assume you do too. I can say without a doubt that using 3rd party in the context you did is short sighted and dangerous. 3rd party data is great to get you moving initially, but your own data trumps that very quickly. So for you to say report A said this or report B said that, is irresponsible at best and ignorant at worst.

December 30, 2011 - 6:32pm

A. Madhatterseo, nothing about my posts to Aaron were uncivil. I simply responded to his claims without pandering to his minor celebrity. In fact, I thought I was very polite at first, saying things like "interesting theory", and closing with the more formal "Best,". It wasn't until Aaron started saying things like I'm “full of crap” that I gave a little back. But mostly on my end it has been dispassionate, evidence-based argument without resorting to personal attacks. Egotistical? How is arguing for the evidence egotistical? I don’t have to imply that I’m superior to point out that Aaron used quotes out of context to support his theory. It’s just a fact. Has nothing to do with me, the messenger. If anything I’m responding to the egotism of making bold, overreaching claims like this on very little evidence (and that evidence taken out of context) and having people like you accept it without examination
B. Not self-promotion. This is actually my fourth year in a row speaking at SMX West and I never take a pitch for granted. Aaron will be there too, along with many followers like you who believe him on faith. If you want to join us, you’re more than welcome, but based on your “contributions” here I don’t think you’ll have much to add to the discussion. If you’d like to put together a coherent argument and pitch it, though, the speaking form should still be open.
C. I don't care if Aaron or anyone else from SEOBook comes to my blog. I just thought it was too lengthy a post to respond in the comments so I thought I would spare his readers the detail. As you can see, I responded to his comments here, and to the comments on my blog, so I really don’t care where the discussion takes place.
D. Aaron started the point by point rebuttal by quoting my posts and responding to the pieces of them that he thought he could defend. I simply followed suit. But honestly, what’s your point here? If anything, I’m showing a great deal of respect for him by specifically addressing his points, rather than ignoring them as you have in favor of half-baked personal attacks on me.
E. Based on your response here, I’m not sure you could explain it if you tried.
F. Nothing wrong with third party data, especially when it’s a source that Wall endorses. If you have data that conflicts, let’s talk about it, and move this back to a discussion about the evidence rather than me. Please.

January 5, 2012 - 5:02pm

The other day we were noticing how unnatural the search results were in our area so we counted up the results in the first 20 results and found... 70% brands and 50% of those had duplicates (same site with more than one result). This seriously clogs up the top results and frankly misleads the end user. Clearly not in the interests of improving the user experience (at least in our field). Beyond the top 20 to top 100 it didn't get any better.

Detailed write up here: http://recipeland.com/news/211 (it's a bit lengthy)

It's as if Panda favors the 1% at the expense of the 99%.

IMHO you're spot on with your analysis.

January 31, 2012 - 2:53am

I've never been a fan of anyone who punishes the innocent along with the guilty. Google is not a fair gatekeeper of the internet, they're under the delusion that the internet belongs to THEM. Unfortunately, Bing and Facebook aren't any better. People who are becoming disillusioned with Google (and now the Search Plus Your World) are turning to Bing search. They forget that the Justice Department clobbered Microsoft in the early 200s and that Facebook is now subject to a 20 year audit for violating user privacy. The big players on the internet will always favor big brands. Google, Facebook and Bing fight each other over which of them deserves the most money but the one thing they all agree on is keeping small businesses out.

People need alternatives to Bing, Google and Facebook. Smaller search engines and social media companies that don't have the capital of the big three might be more inclined to give customers (in this case smaller businesses and the average consumer) what they really need.

Hopefully Google's drive to add Google + results to search will backfire on them. Google doesn't care when small business owners complain about their sleazy practices because business owners make up a relatively small portion of internet users. But when the veil of deceit is lifted from the eyes of the public at large! Now that is when things will really fall apart for Google. That time may be upon us soon.

(And those who defend Google are either disciples or stock holders, why else would they ignore evidence of Google's dishonest business practices?)

January 31, 2012 - 8:29pm

...Google even recently started selling private search data to a large Spanish bank...you don't get much more overt about being pro-big business than that!

The reason all these ad networks (and that is what they are at their core) focus on brands & branding are that they get to taste multiple pieces of the value chain...you have to advertise to help build the brand, you have to advertise to maintain the brand, and then if you are successful and build an audience and demand you still have to advertise against your branded keyword to block out the competition.

Selling ads against the full brand cycle is far more profitable than just selling direct response advertisements. And if any PR disaster happens you need to buy even more ads.

The thing a lot of folks miss when they suggest that size is a legitimate proxy for quality is how anti-competitive & corrupt many monopolies are. I just read an article about Carlos Slim's telephone monopoly in Mexico that acts as a 2% tax on GDP against the whole of their country. And while their profit margins are near 50% their infrastructure is poor & outdated...so that 2% tax on GDP isn't even upgrading their infrastructure or making them more competitive, it is just an arbitrary tax for the sake of it, impoverishing the average person to make the richest man in the world richer.

It also recently came to light just how much many Chinese employees live in slave-like conditions to build products for Apple & others. Then inside the United States these same large technology companies (Apple, Google, Intel, Intuit, Disney, Adobe, etc.) had agreements to prevent recruiting each other's employees. If you worked for any of those companies, then no matter how much you poured your heart & soul into the company (allegedly moving society forward, ushering in "progress"), they had backdoor deals with the competitors conspiring against you.

The other thing that is missed by brand pumpers is that many conglomerates frequently buy & sell brands. Look at all the corruption surrounding News Corp. & their News of the World brand. After over 100 years of existing they simply shut that brand down to isolate it from their other brands. At any point in time they can decide to add more corruption to any of those remaining brands or use their capital to go after buying some other entity that they intend to corrupt. If they want even more distance from the corruption they can form it as a separate company or simply invest in it as a majority shareholder.

Another scam used by big brands is outsourcing blame. When Google was caught defacing an open maps project or scraping data from the Kenyan business directory Mocality, they blamed it on an anonymous contractor. A smaller company does the same thing & is branded as sleazeballs, but a brand can just fund 3rd parties to do their dirty work & claim they didn't know any better.

When things like that or Google's illegal drug ads or Apple's slaves in China or the US anti-labor syndicate come to light they are brushed off as one off events from the past that have been fixed.

We live in a world where large companies that do destructive things get to outsource the risk, costs & blame onto others while being "too big to fail" to be held accountable to the same risks & market discipline they foist onto others who are "too small to matter."

February 1, 2012 - 5:10am

By and large businesses are motivated by profit - that goes for small, medium and large companies alike. The problem comes in when large companies form unethical (if not always illegal) allegiances that are designed to corner the market. I had read about Steve Jobs' dirty dealings with respect to employee intimidation and sweat shop labor practices, but most media outlets mourned his passing and praised him as an innovator. Yes, he was innovative but he was also evil.

There's nothing wrong with making money, we need it to survive but when companies set out to squash their competitors just so they can hoard all the money to themselves is wrong.

Your Newscorp example speaks of big media at large. They don't like independent reporters i.e. bloggers because the little guys don't always tote the company line. Unregulated, the millions of independent media producers on the internet have the potential to strike chords that resonate with the public having a dual effect: elevated status and money, both of which come at the expense of the traditional media.

There are very few honest business people in the world. I regard myself as one of them and it is disheartening to see so much corruption in the business world. I created my website to share health and wellness information with the public, my information is well thought out and researched but often times Google places the big news makers above my content despite the fact that my site is over 4 years old (and that was before they unleashed panda).

The public needs choices, open source search engines and social networking websites would level the playing field (I hope) allowing everyone who works hard to get a fair shake. Until that day comes, companies like Google need to be heavily regulated and even broken up. The world doesn't need Google's hegemony.

New to the site? Join for Free and get over $300 of free SEO software.

Once you set up your free account you can comment on our blog, and you are eligible to receive our search engine success SEO newsletter.

Already have an account? Login to share your opinions.

  • Over 100 training modules, covering topics like: keyword research, link building, site architecture, website monetization, pay per click ads, tracking results, and more.
  • An exclusive interactive community forum
  • Members only videos and tools
  • Additional bonuses - like data spreadsheets, and money saving tips
We love our customers, but more importantly

Our customers love us!






    Email Address
    Pick a Username
    Yes, please send me "7 Days to SEO Success" mini-course (a $57 value) for free.

    Learn More

    We value your privacy. We will not rent or sell your email address.