Big Brands? Google Brand Promotion: New Search Engine Rankings Place Heavy Emphasis on Branding

Feb 25th

Originally when we published this we were going to make it subscriber only content, but the change is so important that I thought we should share some of it with the entire SEO industry. This post starts off with a brief history of recent algorithm updates, and shows the enormous weight Google is placing on branded search results.

The Google Florida Update

I got started in the search field in 2003, and one of the things that helped get my name on the map was when I wrote about the November 14th Google Florida update in a cheeky article titled Google Sells Christmas [1]. To this day many are not certain exactly what Google changed back then, but the algorithm update seemed to hit a lot of low level SEO techniques. Many pages that exhibited the following characteristics simply disappeared from the search results

  • repetitive inbound anchor text with little diversity
  • heavy repetition of the keyword phrase in the page title and on the page
  • words is a phrase exhibiting close proximity with few occurrences of the keywords spread apart
  • a lack of related/supporting vocabulary in the page copy

The Google Florida update was the first update that made SEO complicated enough to where most people could not figure out how to do it. Before that update all you needed to do was buy and/or trade links with your target keyword in the link anchor text, and after enough repetition you stood a good chance of ranking.

Google Austin, Other Filters/Penalties/Updates/etc.

In the years since Google has worked on creating other filters and penalties. At one point they tried to stop artificial anchor text manipulation so much that they accidentally filtered out some brands for their official names [2].

The algorithms have got so complex on some fronts that Google engineers do not even know about some of the filters/penalties/bugs (the difference between the 3 labels often being an issue of semantics). In December 2007, a lot of pages that ranked #1 suddenly ended up ranking no better than position #6 [3] for their core target keyword (and many related keywords). When questioned about this, Matt Cutts denied the problem until after he said they had already fixed it. [4]

When Barry asked me about "position 6" in late December, I said that I didn't know of anything that would cause that. But about a week or so after that, my attention was brought to something that could exhibit that behavior. We're in the process of changing the behavior; I think the change is live at some datacenters already and will be live at most data centers in the next few weeks.

Recent Structural Changes to the Search Results

Google helped change the structure of the web in January 2005 when they proposed a link rel=nofollow tag [5]. Originally it was said to stop blog spam, but by September of the same year, Matt Cutts changed his tune to where you were considered a spammer if you were buying links without using rel=nofollow on them. Matt Cutts documented some of his repeated warnings on the Google Webmaster Central blog. [6]

A bunch of allegedly "social" websites have adopted the use of the nofollow tag, [7] turning their users into digital share-croppers [8] and eroding the link value [9] that came as a part of being a well known publisher who created link-worthy content.

In May of 2007 Google rolled out Universal search [10], which mixes in select content from vertical search databases directly into the organic search results. This promoted

  • Google News
  • Youtube videos (and other video content)
  • Google Product Search
  • Google Maps/Local
  • select other Google verticals, like Google Books

These 3 moves (rel=nofollow, social media, and universal search), coupled with over 10,000 remote quality raters [11], has made it much harder to manipulate the search results quickly and cheaply unless you have a legitimate well trusted site that many people vouch for. (And it does not hurt to have spent a couple hours reading their 2003, 2005, and 2007 remote quality guidelines that were leaked into the SEO industry. [12]

Tracking Users Limits Need for "Random" Walk

The PageRank model is an algorithm built on a random walk of links on the web graph. But if you have enough usage data, you may not need to base your view of the web on that perspective since you can use actual surfing data to help influence the search results. Microsoft has done research on this concept, under the name of BrowseRank. [13] In Internet Explorer 8 usage data is sent to Microsoft by default.

Google's Chrome browser phones home [14] and Google also has the ability to track people (and how they interact with content) through Google Accounts, Google Analytics, Google AdSense, DoubleClick, Google AdWords, Google Reader, iGoogle, Feedburner, and Youtube.

Yesterday we launched a well received linkbait, and the same day our rankings for our most valuable keywords were lifted in both Live and Google, part of that may have been the new links, but I would be willing to bet some of it was caused from 10,000's of users finding their way to our site.

Google's Eric Schmidt Offers Great SEO Advice

If you ask Matt Cutts what big SEO changes are coming up he will tell you "make great content" and so on...never wanting to reveal the weaknesses of their search algorithms. Eric Schmidt, on the other hand, is frequently talking to media and investors with intent of pushing Google's agendas and all the exciting stuff that is coming out. In the last 6 months Mr. Schmidt has made a couple quotes that smart SEOs should incorporate into their optimization strategies - one on brands [15], and another on word relationships [16].

Here is Mr. Schmidt's take on brands from last October

The internet is fast becoming a "cesspool" where false information thrives, Google CEO Eric Schmidt said yesterday. Speaking with an audience of magazine executives visiting the Google campus here as part of their annual industry conference, he said their brands were increasingly important signals that content can be trusted.

"Brands are the solution, not the problem," Mr. Schmidt said. "Brands are how you sort out the cesspool."

"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."

And here is his take on word relationships from the most recent earnings call

“Wouldn’t it be nice if Google understood the meaning of your phrase rather than just the words that are in that phrase? We have a lot of discoveries in that area that are going to roll out in the next little while.”

The January 18th Google Update Was Bigger Than Florida, but Few People Noticed it

Tools like RankPulse [17] allow you to track the day to day Google ranking changes for many keywords.

4 airlines recently began ranking for "airline tickets"

At least 90% of the first page of search results for auto insurance is owned by large national brands.

3 boot brands / manufacturers rose from nowhere to ranking at the top of the search results.

3 of the most well recognized diet programs began ranking for diets.

4 multi-billion dollar health insurance providers just began ranking, with Aetna bouncing between positions #1 and 2.

3 of the largest online education providers began ranking for online degree.

5 watch brands jumped onto the first page of search results for watches. To be honest I have never heard of Nixon Now.

The above images are just some examples. Radioshack.com recently started ranking for electronics and Hallmark.com just recently started ranking for gifts. The illustrations do not list all brands that are ranking, but brands that just started ranking. Add in other brands that were already ranking, and in some cases brands have 80% or 90% of the first page search results for some of the most valuable keywords. There are thousands of other such examples across all industries if you take the time to do the research, but the trend is clear - Google is promoting brands for big money core category keywords.

Want to read the rest of our analysis? If you are a subscriber you can access it here.

Published: February 25, 2009

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Comments

February 25, 2009 - 1:16pm

It is a relief to see some original research and incite. My RSS feed has been regurgitation the same thing for the past few weeks. Other then the new canonical tag, everything appeared the same.

I look forward to seeing the communities response.

February 25, 2009 - 1:32pm

how do you define a brand?

I have noticed Google has given a bump to brands or 'sites with a lot of authority' but surely not by using traffic stats as a way to give positions, especially through their own browser! seems very biased even for Google

February 25, 2009 - 2:04pm

The checkmark boxes in the above images of examples of what I would call brands. :)

February 25, 2009 - 4:36pm

Aaron- This is IMO the best and probably most important post on SEO that I've read in a very, very long time. Thank you for making this public.

February 25, 2009 - 4:54pm

So, what's the next step in promoting our own sites once we understand that big brand names do well?

I guess my question implies an assumption (bear with me) that I won't be able to build a "brand" for my web sites.

February 25, 2009 - 6:27pm

Awesome post Aaron! I have noticed this in several of the industries I track as well. One website went from #200+ to #2 overnight for one of the most competitive KW's on the Internet. (jan 2009) I think the million dollar questions is:

How does google decide if a company is a worthy brand???

-Mentions on the web? (i.e. name mention on other websites)
-Business listings?
-Are they using some offline data?
-PPC Advertising spend?
-All of the above?

Any thoughts????

February 25, 2009 - 6:36pm

So let's assume Google likes established brands. This is a short-cut to "trust" as they know these sites aren't likely to be dodgy in the ways the internet can be dodgy - Google knows these sites are safe bets that will serve up vanilla content (at least, if not quality content). But that's the problem. Brands aren't necessarily giving the searchers what they want. There's no guarantee of the QUALITY of the big brand content, is there?

Maybe Google is burnt out by spam and now resort to established brands as an easy way out, but IF so, they are taking their eye off the ball. Quality is often found in fledgling sites that haven't established themselves. If the only easy way to find these is via a search engine other than Google, then discerning searchers will start switching when the top 10 Google results starts looking like a corporate billboard.

February 25, 2009 - 6:43pm

@Aaron:

Thanks for this great post, I wouldnt have noticed this one! I think eoin rases a good question, though. How about us smaller players who won't be able to build a huge brand

I assume this means, that focussing on the long-tail first (esp. for smaller players) has just become an even better idea?

Does it not matter for small to medium-sized websites (that won't be going after these kinds of keywords, anyway) or is it possible that Google might roll this feature out for less competitive terms as well?

@smindsrt: I would add searches for the brand to your list (guess you probably thought of that one, already)

February 25, 2009 - 7:34pm

Pre-comment note: Aaron, I post the following comment, obviously with no slight intended to your amazing ability to find and blog on these sorts of topics nobody else seems to be able to touch upon quite like yourself. Like DreSEO said, my RSS feeds wreak of the same beaten-to-death topics.

-----

With the exception that Google now appears to have finally given deserved brands the opportunity they deserve to rank better in the SERPs--a little extra push, if you will--this information shouldn't be anything new or earth-shattering for us.

Brand and authority have been HUGE trust-rank variables for many years. I can actually hear Jill Whalen in the back of my head laughing with delight because she (somebody I have followed since my early days) has always said that one should build one amazing brand filled with good content.

At any rate, while this appears to be good news to those who create strong brands and strong content, I truly hope this is not a signal that the Big Fish--just because they are Big Fish--automatically deserve the right to outrank other hard-working businesses for competitive non-brand specific keywords.

Right now, if I was purely an affiliate marketer with a ton of thin sites, which were currently ranking well for competitive keywords, I'd be a bit more nervous than I was yesterday. In fact, I'd start looking at which domain names in my roster I could truly turn into a good brand.

That's all for now. (:

February 25, 2009 - 7:57pm

"(Jill Whalen) has always said that one should build one amazing brand filled with good content."

This reminds me of a mixture between Aaron (who has been talking about the importnace of building strong brands for SEO purposes probably ever since I started reading his blog 2 years ago) and one of those "CONTENT IS KING!" followers lol.

(No offense, though, just found it funny ;))

February 25, 2009 - 10:54pm

1. Aaron wasn't around at the time I started following Jill. At that time, I really bought into what Jill was saying/teaching because her ideals were very aligned to my own. If Aaron would have been posting then and I came across his writings, no doubt I would have been following him for just as long. Honestly, I haven't followed Jill much over the past three years. But, I still think she was one of my inspirations for getting going into SEO.

Side note: I read many of her posts back then on Doug Heil's iHelpYou forum. I plead the 5th on what I think of that guy's opinions, but at the time his forum was where the BIG SEOs of the time congregated.

2. With regards to content is King, I firmly believe that content is important directly to the extent that your business model relies on it to drive revenue.

February 26, 2009 - 1:11am

Hey Eric,

I didnt mean to talk negatively about anyone (just in case it came off like that). I've only been doing this for a bit over 2 years and only really know the name Jill Whalen, but haven't really read anything she said (not because I assume it wouldnt be worth checking out or anything, but I was so b usy reading Aaron's Stuff, Jim Boykin, Stuntdubl, other forums, etc...) So anyway just in case it came off like that I didnt mean to say anything negative about Jill Whalen.

Doug Heil however remidns me of another piece of advice in Aaron's SEOBook...you have to be either extremely bad or extremely good to have success on the web/get talked about...I kind of guess thats why Doug Heil has become such an extreme white hat, and we're spreading his name in this second ;)

February 25, 2009 - 8:46pm

This whole thing reminds me of the "Filthy Linking Rich" post.

What was great about the search engines is that they completely leveled the playing field from brands and the mom and pop shops. Moving forward, this doesn't look like it's going to be the case.

How will this effect there search engine? Just because Radioshack ranks for "electronics" doesn't mean that what the searcher wants. Lots of brand sites are still hard to navigate through. I'd like to see the bounce rate of these top brands compared to other non-branded sites.

February 25, 2009 - 9:11pm

Not only could this make it harder for the "mom and pop" to rank well for competitive terms, but having well developed "brands" in results will probably take away clicks as well.

I wonder what this will do to Google's adwords revenue. If some of these brands spend a bunch on adwords, more clicks may end up in the natural results. Good for the brands bad for Google.

I'm sure you covered most of this in the second part, but what are the factors involved? Traffic? User data? How about "brand" searches? Mentions of the brand (without links) online?

I bet if you compare keyword research for each of the brands mentioned (in this post), you'd see a correlation to their rankings boost compared to the "lesser brands" (replaced) in the SERPS. Same for mentions.

This is very interesting data.

February 25, 2009 - 9:27pm

It looks like it only affects 3-4 spots on page one only. It's like Google finially got tired of seeing nothing but review websites (affiliate websites) rank 1-10 on the first page.

So can the "mom and pop" still rank??? It still looks possible but you just have less spots now.

IMO, it's a good move by Google. Now when are they going to fix how easy it is to rank with *sponsoring* Wordpress themes????? I still see websites with thousands of backlinks from sponsored themes still ranking #1.

February 26, 2009 - 3:36am

It looks like it only affects 3-4 spots on page one only.

In some areas sure, but in some areas (like auto insurance) half of the listings already were brands and then another half of the listings became ADDITIONAL new branded listings.

February 25, 2009 - 9:47pm

Aaron-

Which linkbait article were you speaking of in this post? Would love to see which on it is.

Cheer,

Victoria

February 26, 2009 - 4:37am

Hi Victoria
It is one that got 10's of thousands of pageviews yesterday, but not one that is associated with me in any way. And its best if most of our sites stay that way because some Google engineers may get paranoid and/or view sites differently if they are known to be associated with a well known SEO.

February 25, 2009 - 9:56pm

@Aaron

Awesome article! Do you think this an attempt to sell more ads? I mean the way I see it, if big brands can now rank for 1-4 slots they would be less reluctant to buy ad space. But, the lower level sites that got knocked out would be more willing to buy ads. And it seems that those lower level sites are the ones that buy the bulk of PPC ads anyways, because they tend to covert hirer then old school methods, that bigger brands often are addicted to. What ya think?

February 25, 2009 - 11:01pm

@Joehall: The big brands will still include PPC in their budgets because there is too much evidence to suggest that owning a top organic ranking and running an ad that appears near it leads to greater brand retention and conversion.

Not sure if you recall the fiasco with FTD during the Holiday Season in, I believe, 2007. Feel free to correct my date if I'm off. At any rate FTD's Marketing Director at that time suggested they stop spending money on AdWords since they held such fantastic rankings. Long and short of it is that conversion and sales took a huge dive costing FTD a ton of lost revenues during the Holiday Season. The Marketing Director and his staff were then fired.

February 26, 2009 - 12:48am

Aaron, excellent read. Made me head spin actually.

Now that we have all this data, what now? Is the SEOBook readership going to be able to counter this type of shift? If they are not managing a big brand, this is way out of their league.

I've seen a rise in all this scientific discussion lately and truthfully, I think its great. Bottom line, it doesn't help 98% of the masses one bit. ;)

February 26, 2009 - 1:03am

This is an unsettling post. It reminds me of my cross country drive last summer where each town I drove through looked exactly the same with all the big box stores (Walmart, Target Best Buy, etc). What about a little diversity both on the road and on the Internet?

Thankfully, I question the validity. My SEO firm recently helped a small liberal arts college outrank Phoenix.edu for a number of targeted keywords. I think brand plays a part, as you point out, however, as always with SEO, there is much more at play.

February 26, 2009 - 1:22am

Yeah, to add a little more proof, we've pretty much been outranking AT&T for several years, but most importantly for the keyword "phone cards" (no quotes). On Monday I did a quick check and noticed that AT&T was sitting pretty at #1 and I KNOW they don't try nearly as hard with their SEO efforts as do we and other smaller competitors.

February 26, 2009 - 3:06am

It's only February but I'm fairly sure that this is the post of the year.

As far as I'm concerned, the next step for serious marketers (especially those that work with big brands) is to figure out what made certain brand sites jump up while others continued to be mired in search mediocrity.

I can tell you that my team and I already have the gears turning trying to figure out the specific variables that make the difference, because I know for a fact that there are still plenty of "big brands" (even in the specific keyword segements Aaron outlined) that didn't make the move up to the top.

I don't think that it's a matter of Google just rewarding brands manually or anything like that. I just think that they've stumbled onto a algorithm that rewards big brands that do certain things right.

February 26, 2009 - 3:11am

Interesting stuff and we'll be sure to start looking into it.

For me though, any type of 'brand specific algo' isn't really viable. My first instincts are that, if indeed it's happening, that it could be related to harmonic/trust rank type of approaches. New algos mean more processing and greater expense, the search quality team needs to get by the boardroom. To that end it also makes sense that existing systems (such as mentioned above) could be tweaked to attain the desired end result.

I found this telling;

"he algorithms have got so complex on some fronts that Google engineers do not even know about some of the filters/penalties/bugs"

In speaking with some of the engineers, the search engines often have (by design or coincidence) the ol 'Los Alamos' approach that various teams work with different parts; thus often one hand doesn't know what the other is doing.

As for behavioral signals, don't get me started. As much as peeps like the 'sexy' factor of implicit user feedback it is still problematic on many levels in the IR community. What aren't so troublesome are explicit user feedback and even application focus type signals (as far as behavioral). Microsoft research is by no means unique (ie; BrowseRank). Even Google has funded research, they simply don't publicize it like MS does (I suppose MS wants to have us believe they're 'cutting edge'). I would be very careful when discussing behavioral, especially the implicit feedback variety.

Anyway, rambling as always, thanks for the post... it will give me something new to play with, dig into. My initial suspicions are likely to be related to trust factors... though it could be more than a few things. A 'new algo' seems unlikely, but not outside the realm of possibility...

Have a great week...and thanks for getting the brain clicking (as always).

February 26, 2009 - 3:43am

I, too, am wondering what linkbait article you were referring to..
I think it's a good step to move towards branding recognition, just like how google puts more emphasis on .edu and .gov links. Outside of BMW and other fiasco's, why can't brands rank for key keywords?

February 26, 2009 - 5:19am

If this cuts out the fake/scam review sites out of the web hosting serps I will lick Google's feet for a long time.

February 26, 2009 - 8:30am

Until affiliate commissions come down or hosts spend more on branding and differentiation I don't think anything will wipe out that particular industry for very long ;)

February 26, 2009 - 9:01am

"Branding" is such a generic term and the big names spend literally millions of dollars on exposure. How can small businesses compete? Now not only will big names have exposure on mainstream media but also on the net.

This could be worse than Florida.

February 26, 2009 - 11:09am

This could be worse than Florida.

That's what I said :)

February 26, 2009 - 5:22am

Great research Aaron. If you were to speculate do you think that this lifting of "big brand" websites in their rankings was applied algorithmically or do you think that it was the result, at least in part, of some kind of human intervention?

If you believe it was the former and not the latter then what would you also speculate would be some components of that algorithm?

Thanks! - Joel

February 26, 2009 - 8:38am

I tried to mention that sort of stuff in our forum thread on the topic :)

February 26, 2009 - 6:17am

Awesome post Aaron! I have noticed this in several of the industries I track as well. One website went from #200+ to #2 overnight for one of the most competitive KW's on the Internet.

February 26, 2009 - 6:22am

Wow, that is some scary shit Aaron. Had seen a few ranking fluctuations myself and saw Graywolf howling about it on Twitter but didn't quite understand his concerns until I read this. Thanks for making it public, will be alerting our students about this issue ASAP

February 26, 2009 - 8:27am

It was kinda easy to sense a trend in general...but nothing really solidifies the thinking behind it like seeing all those graphs. I was surprised how much they were in unison. I didn't sleep last night so I could finish writing about it :)

February 26, 2009 - 7:06am

Wow. Aaron you truly uncovered an update that I didn't expect to see this dramatically.

Great post and props for backing it up and sharing it with everyone.

February 26, 2009 - 8:00am

Awesome post Aaron!

Big brand, big money, big rankings. If Google starts charging for placement, would we not be back to way of the the phone book?

February 26, 2009 - 8:26am

Nice analogy Tom. It might be an indirect effect...but one that perhaps will only grow more true as Google controls more of the ad market.

February 26, 2009 - 10:39am

Thanks for that interesting blogpost. On the one hand - I like relevant results. On the other hand I dislike unfair rankings (brands before useful content). We will see if Google can find a balance.
In the german Index there seems to be not (yet) a "starting-Date" for that brand-update. I made a post about this topic and tried to analyse some keywords for a change. Yes, there are changes, no they are not significant (yet)

see for yourself:
Link
(beware, German language :)

February 26, 2009 - 10:45am

Hi Aaron,

I noticed some other changes that happened around the end of January [i posted about it here: http://www.seoers.org/BB/google/google-continues-to-produce-crap-results/].

One of the changes I observed (in google.co.uk) was an increase in the number of job and business directory listings. Several of my clients lost rankings because of this.

Job listings especially seem to be a common theme for most SERPs when you search for "keyword in location" type phrases (not personalised results btw). Cant google treat job sites in the same way it treats news sites and separate them as part of universal search?

If this is due to google changing to reward branding more than i feel it could be a bad route to go. As mentioned above, the once level playing field is starting to tip in multiple directions. Pretty soon i think google may only be rankable by three types of business; the niche, the big brand/budget and the free services (jobs, wiki).

February 26, 2009 - 11:06am

Sorta agree, but the fourth type of business is of course media.

February 26, 2009 - 11:30am

Great article mate and very well outlined.

I am thinking there could be a relationship between this ranking change and the amount of type in traffic those type of sites get.

I wonder if Google has begun to use typed in traffic as a measure of trust or significance.

May have to test this with some of the better known sites I have and see if it impacts ranking.

February 26, 2009 - 11:42am

Awesome post Aaron :)

Thank you.

February 26, 2009 - 12:02pm

Ive been trying to write a post on this issue and one factor that im curious about is how google realises a brand. For example, what clues does the algo pick up that show radioshack are a great place to go for electricals?

As SEOs, should we be trying to create relevancy between our site and a brand name by consistency in the domain name and titles etc and does google then gather clues such as the number of times your company name appears in related content (not necessarily linked)?

So in radioshack's case have they only appeared because google has spotted the company name (not necessarily linked) in loads of related content?

February 26, 2009 - 11:53am

And what about data relating to direct traffic or traffic from brand searches? Could google be using this data to assess your brand power and reward you accordingly?

February 26, 2009 - 3:55pm

Really enjoyed this post and have seen and made/implemented successful recommendations based on this trend with regards to sites who have the capability of capturing relationships with trusted brands.

Curious if what looks to be end notes for the post were left out intentionally (paid subscriber information only?)

Regardless, thanks again for putting the core subject matter out for the public.

February 26, 2009 - 8:35pm

I was trying to drive member sign-ups by offering so much of the post for free. I thought about putting some of the end references in the public part...but I thought it might look weird to show a partial set of the sources.

February 26, 2009 - 4:49pm

Aaron,

Nice round-up of your findings in a very detailed post. I have been kind of lobbying with few folks at Google from some time now about bringing sanity to the search results page for major industry keywords from big established brands. The problem is search results are indeed polluted and Google had to do this sooner rather than later. There are so many affiliate sites that are exploiting the SERP's and outranking established businesses and big brands. Nothing wrong with that but think of it from a user experience. The best experience, that i had recommended, was to have a combination of affiliate sites and big brand sites on a single search result page as that way searchers would have more options. "Health Insurance" is another great keyword where established affiliates and providers are on the same page. This is definitely good user experience.
I have been monitoring this changes from almost a month now and Google has been implementing this change very cautiously. Finally, full implementation in all datacenters took place sometime last week. I believe this is a good change as it gives searchers with a better search experience. The big newspapers have been arguing their case with Google for some time now for ranking qualitatively and not quantitatively. Google implemented few changes on Google news couple of weeks back.
Again, sad update for many but if we think holistically then this is a change for the better. Create great businesses on the web and Google will reward you. Aaron, you for one know what it takes to build a great brand (and earning trust from both customers and search engines).
Thanks!!

February 26, 2009 - 5:39pm

Google appears to not realise that when people want trusted material they don't always want brands. Indeed, if they want the brands, they search for the brands. The reason they are using other keywords is because they don't want the brands.

The result of this change will be that users will like the search listings LESS not more. That will signal a move away from Google by many people.

Research shows us that young people in particular have much less brand affinity than older people - and their level of brand affinity is lower than for previous generations of the same age groups. Also, younger people are now depending less on search and more on social bookmarking.

Google's change will merely drive them away more quickly.

I appreciate this change affects SEO - but it also affects the future of Google. It's own brand could become tarnished as a result of this change - and that will have repercussions for all of us.

February 26, 2009 - 6:29pm

The JS pop-ups are getting a little annoying. Maybe a set a cookie for people that don't want them and display it every month, instead of every instance.

February 26, 2009 - 6:40pm

I have been blogging http://www.seomoves.com/blog/ about this change in Google's algo for about a month, and struggled to put it into words.

Well done, I am not sure how much weight Google is giving to these brands, but if they continue down this brand road, Google may as well just become Dmoz.

Keep up the good work.

February 26, 2009 - 8:37pm

Nice posts you made there. I would have found this change hard to quantify or explain if it had not been for RankPulse really making the changes very visual. :)

blahblah
February 26, 2009 - 7:06pm

I swear, if I see this ugly ajax bar popping up again, and have to click "don't ask me again" one more time, I'm never coming back.

February 26, 2009 - 8:32pm

I need to offer a lifetime close thing on the slide up...the programmer is working on fixing a couple other issues, but that is coming soon.

February 26, 2009 - 8:42pm

Worth quoting this Matt Cutts tweet
http://twitter.com/mattcutts/status/1252075822

I think Bellagio is a great result if someone searches for Las Vegas. What was there before?

February 26, 2009 - 10:05pm

Great discussion but in the back of my mind, I am thinking this is not so much seo news but economic news!

Aaron have you considered this has more to do with the underlying economic conditions and forces than any seo factors put into play.

This is not so much an update but more of an economic marketing strategy on Google's part. Times are tough and tough times demand tough choices. Giving the big brand companies more of their (Google's) organic (free) SERPs is one way for Google to stay in business and prosper.

Goolge is big business. Google is a publicly traded company - of course it's going to promote the big name brands that will earn it money and keep its shareholders happy. Big Brands bid high and often in Adwords - maybe those revenues were dropping so Google is using its own stimulus plan to boost its revenues back up by providing more free organic traffic/sales to these big brand companies. These big brands then pour more revenues back into Adwords. Only Google knows what Google knows. Can you say Backrub?

In hard economic times maybe, just maybe, Google like any other company that has shareholders are protecting it's own derriere by giving all these brand names a bigger share of the organic search traffic and capital in order keep its own revenues flowing. Google is a business and businesses can go belly up - no matter how big or secure they seem to us. Just ask GM.

Put aside Google own "professed neutrality" in SERPs for one moment, which doesn't actually exist because Google can manipulate and display any listings they see fit. They have done so in the past and will do so in the future. To be fair, they do give some of the best quality search results on the web. Would they jeopardize those quality SERPs just to grease their own coppers? Probably not. But if the big brand names also have quality content - why not list/rank the big brands to firm up the underlying economic foundation of its core business/revenue which is Adwords. One trick pony indeed.

Think $EO everyone!

February 26, 2009 - 9:43pm

Congrats on another great post. This one looks like it is getting some well deserved attention from the community. (just got the searchday email with your post being mentioned) I knew you had something big coming out when you didn't post for a couple days.

February 27, 2009 - 2:19am

Excellent, important post!

Based on my observations of Aderit's clients' position changes following this algo adjustment, I'm not seeing SERP changes I can attribute to branding or user behavior. (N.b., which is not to say that in other SERPs such things are not happening).

What I am seeing is a fall in the rankings of sites employing SEO tricks that I've been expecting for a long time for Google to figure out an algorithmic approach to. Examples:

* high levels of duplication of anchor text
* high levels of duplication of copy around anchor text
* tendency to be linked from dubious sites (e.g., link-selling blogs)

Major brands seldom engage in such tactics. Hence, a devaluing of such tactics would cause rankings of brands to improve.

February 27, 2009 - 6:14am

Major brands seldom engage in such tactics. Hence, a devaluing of such tactics would cause rankings of brands to improve.

I see major brands engage in such behavior often. But they get more of a free pass when they do. ;)

But I agree that some smaller sites were more reliant on mechanical SEO as a piece of their rankings strategy and that many large brands tend to have a more solid foundation.

March 3, 2009 - 2:59pm

That's bollocks. I'll just go out and do all that to the 'brand' then. Also saying major brands never do that is bollocks, you don't know about all the UK car insurance sites like Tesco, or GoCompare who just spam blogs in places like Ethiopia haha. Also what happens when you have x number of variables which match 'brand'. What happens about anti-competitive laws?

February 27, 2009 - 3:58am

In the past few weeks I've noticed a competitor of mine rise up from the depths to the number two position. Most sites in the category have several thousand inbound links and hundreds of pages in the index. The competing website has a total of 10 inbound links, 17 pages in the index but is almost an exact match domain to the query. Wow, I think it might be time to start investing more into exact match domains ;)

February 27, 2009 - 4:37am

I don't think it's a case of branding

It's a case of having thousands of links pointing to your website with the keywords airline tickets or auto insurance.

Another thing is that those top websites are hiring SEO experts who are now optimizing their websites with the correct keyword title/description tag.
Every single site (except 1) has the keyword airline tickets in the title tag or the description.

Every single site (except 1) has the keyword auto insurance in the title tag or the description.

This is the 'basics' of SEO.

Never put your company name in the title tag or description.
It is a waste of space because people SEARCH FOR KEYWORDS not company names.
You can put your company name on the header/footer, but do not put it in the meta tag title or description.

Believe it or not...some people haven't heard of travelocity but they will click it because it's #2 on Google.

Branding a website IMHO is a waste of time.

Top ranking websites are now ranking because of social bookmarking.

Watch Matt Cutts video in 2006 where he says a good website should be good enough where a person will want to 'BOOKMARK IT'. I hardly search that often because now my favorite sites are 'bookmarked'. Google knows this and this is why social bookmarks are the 'new directories', and now DMOZ/Yahoo is out.

Think about it folks

What's more important?
1 link from DMOZ or 100 links from 100 different people who have bookmarked your site?

Well I dont know...I'm just a noob. :)

Follow me on twitter @NC_SEO

February 27, 2009 - 6:17am

If branding was a waste of money then companies probably would stop spending hundreds of billions of dollars on it at some point.

If your brand is well known then it makes a lot of sense to put your brand in the page title or meta description tag. It might help pull clicks in, and even when it does not at least it helps aid awareness somewhat.

February 27, 2009 - 2:17pm

Aaron - I disagree

I think Google is smart enough now to know what companies are being searched online, and to put them first for their own company name.

For example
Google the keyword Aaron Wall, and you'll see that your site shows up as #1. Your name is not in the title tag or url. (just the description)

Companies spend millions to 'brand' their name because they don't want the people 'searching'. Branding also builds trust. Branding also builds backlinks.

Your post concerning branding would be great if you can pull up sites that don't have the keywords in the title/description or URL.

Orbitz has over 800k backlinks.
Traveolicity has 650k backlinks
Priceline has 215k backlinks
Cheaptickets 850k backlinks
AA 309k backlinks
Delta 204k backlinks
Ego 1973 bcklinks
Kayak 771k bcklinks
Continental 183k backlinks
NWA 256k backlinks

Most major brands have hundreds of thousands of backlinks.
Mom and pop websites may only have 5,000.
How is a mom & pop website going to compete with these big brands?

I believe that the above companies are now hiring SEO companies to optimize their websites.

It was only a matter of time before huge corporations started to listen to the little guys (seo experts)
Before it would take weeks/months to get an approval from CEO to change anything on the website.
Now it may only take a few hours or minutes, and anything can be optimized now.

Big brands are now taking their tv commercial money, and aiming it at the internet. It wasn't going to be long before they started to hire SEO experts to optimize their pages.

Run for your websites! The sleeping giants have awokened.

February 27, 2009 - 2:54pm

I have done work with large brands for many years, and I can tell you from personal experience that most of them still take a great while to make changes (and we only tend to work with the ones that we feel tend to be quick and receptive...our price-point prevents us from being hired by companies that do not truly value our opinions).

February 27, 2009 - 4:45am

Very interesting article. I hope this changes will give great impact to my SERP.

February 27, 2009 - 6:49am
February 27, 2009 - 1:55pm

Every forum develops social cliques on it. Being right is not enough to be welcome everywhere. I know I am unwelcome in some spots, often for being correct. So be it. Best to hang out where you are welcome ;)

February 27, 2009 - 9:07am

Thanks Aaron, this is fantastic research. I just posted yesterday on my blog about spotting a massive update for a client for the term 'car insurance' in Google UK (they've jumped 30 places into the top 10). - http://www.noporkpies.com/seo/whats-google-up-too

The client is a big brand in the UK but mainly for breakdown cover so the idea that site stats have affected the overall positions would definitely account for the leap in other areas.

Thanks for the information.

February 27, 2009 - 11:33am

Branding a website IMHO is a waste of time.

Branding is a waste of time if you dont have something thats brandable. The phrase "you cant polish a turd" springs to mind. But when it comes to converting a potential customer into a paying customer your brand is often the deciding factor.

Admittedly branding becomes more important the bigger and more competitive your website becomes. For example, faced with 2 identical products would an online shopper buy from "ebay" or "mattinertia's auction website"... You may say "id go for the best offer" but 99% would go for the name they recognise.

If your brand is well known then it makes a lot of sense to put your brand in the page title or meta description tag. It might help pull clicks in, and even when it does not at least it helps aid awareness somewhat.

I said pretty much the same thing to an seo the other day who told me not to dilute the keyword by adding other characters to the title tag. Another example of the conflicting nature of seo and offsite marketing.

February 27, 2009 - 11:55am

So, can we assume from all this scientific research that SEO is DEAD for most? It sure reads that way. But, when I view stats for a variety of sites across many different industries, I'm not seeing this heavy emphasis on brand. That's probably because I don't work in the Fortune 1000 space. If you don't qualify, then why even bother?

And again, now that everyone has this information in front of them, exactly what are you going to do with it? Use it as an excuse to tell your client why they are no longer ranking for the terms that they did last month?

I'm still not sure what to do here. If I'm an SEO running a small to medium sized website, what can "I" do to counter this so called brand shift?

I can see how this would affect the affiliate space and that is probably where the heaviest fallout will be.

P.S. I smell something cooking in regards to reporting, I really do. I can see where this is going. ;)

February 27, 2009 - 1:46pm

Did the above change influence all search results? Nope. But changes usually start at an edge and work there way outward from there - if user feedback is inline with expectations. And, as Matt Cutts stated on Sphinn, Google algorithm changes tend to be more subtle and less crude than they were in 2003 (which is not surprising since there are 2 well-funded market competitors today, whereas there were ~ 0 back in 2003 - as almost everything that mattered was "powered by Google")

Aaron's brand post. I talked about this in a video today and we'll try to get that up in a few days. The short answer is that we did change some of our algorithms for some queries, but this was just one of the hundreds of changes that we make each year, so I certainly wouldn't call it an update. The change was discussed on WebmasterWorld for days before Aaron wrote about it, but really not that many people noticed it. That's in line with the fact that scoring changes recently tend to be more subtle and more targeted to improve specific types of queries.

I never stated SEO is dead...just that it is going through major changes, as it did in 2003. Such changes may influence which clients are worth working for and what types of websites are profitable to build. But this has been true ever since I got into SEO back in 2003. And at some point a higher barrier to entry increases the profit margins of some established businesses. It all comes down to perspective I guess.

February 27, 2009 - 12:09pm

Sounds to me that now the trick to get ranked well in google, is to make google believe that you have a brand, and your urls is branded?
Could be hard...

February 27, 2009 - 1:32pm

I just think such a move requires people to think more like a local business does, but replacing location with topic. That, and realize that the web is a social network and start approaching it as such. Not hard really...just more cost intensive.

February 27, 2009 - 4:15pm

Great article Aaron,

If all of it is true, it´s pretty crappy of Google. I understand that they want to get rid of the Spam websites but it makes it tougher for smaller business to compete on the internet.

Before that, Google SEO was pretty much they only way that a small business could give the big companies with lots of advertising dollar some competition.

Now it looks like that era might be coming to an end.

Does that mean that for a small online business to compete with the big boys they will jsut have to write a bunch of press releases and start large advertising campaings?

February 27, 2009 - 6:16pm

You can't outflank the competition simply by following in their footsteps and using their same strategies with fewer resources at hand.

February 28, 2009 - 12:40am

Aaron, I have documented the update in my blog post through screenshots which prove a transition occurred the week of February 16th, when it came on our radar (I've been sitting on the blog post over a week, clients come first:). Maybe Bryson will get it now...

February 28, 2009 - 4:49am

I doubt he will publicly admit to getting it. ;)

I think he was just hungry for attention, and didn't mind being wrong to try to get a bit of it. For every smart person in the SEO field there are 10 to 100 others floating around the space. :)

February 28, 2009 - 6:48am

Hypocrisy is inevitable.

(Source from original pagerank paper) At the same time, search engines have migrated from the academic domain to the commercial. Up until now most search engine development has gone on at companies with little publication of technical details. This causes search engine technology to remain largely a black art and to be advertising oriented (see Appendix A). With Google, we have a strong goal to push more development and understanding into the academic realm.......However, it is very difficult to get this (academic) data, mainly because it is considered commercially valuable.

As BWmagic said "Think $EO everyone!"

February 28, 2009 - 9:32am

One of the easiest ways to gain marketshare is to play innocent and naive. Google were masters of that, and Yahoo! et. al. fell for it. :)

February 28, 2009 - 5:34pm

Hi Aaron,

There is so much information on SEO out there and given this news, I wonder if a whole new approach to SEO is needed. Will the strategies and tactics for "good SEO" need to be revamped? And as a beginner, it makes me question purchasing SEO books I see at Barnes and Noble or other retailers. If I were to follow their advice, it may not be relevant given the current developments. Any thoughts on this? Thanks.

February 28, 2009 - 11:17pm

The information alread stablished by the SEO community is still good. In addition, developing brands will become increasingly important for relevancy. The new strategies and tactics for developing a website to fit the "brand" mold in a way that Google will like isn't yet 100% clear, but will probably more and more follow traditinal marketing as the online world increasinly mimics the offline.

March 1, 2009 - 5:04am

Hi rsinno
I think MikeShannon was 110% correct (maybe 120% correct) with that comment :)

March 1, 2009 - 7:07am

Aaron, MikeShannon...thanks for your feedback. It will be interesting to see how this development unfolds. Referring to the quote:

“Wouldn’t it be nice if Google understood the meaning of your phrase rather than just the words that are in that phrase? We have a lot of discoveries in that area that are going to roll out in the next little while.”

here is a wild guess---to gather what a keyword phrase means implies context. Context shapes meaning. So perhaps my on page optimization may include contextual terms or vocabulary that relate to the main keyword phrase. Perhaps "trust brands" that are contextually linked to certain keyword phrases for their meaning may end-up high on the SERPS.

March 1, 2009 - 8:38pm

Aaron... excellent take... but... is it brand or something that looks like brand? Like "trust" often gets mistaken for PR by SEOs. I agree with the notion there is a change and it is beyond IBLs and optimizing on page elements. If you look at the SiteLinks there is seemingly a "branding" element in that Universal Search algo. IMO it extends past SiteLinks but is more pronounced there.

I'm not disputing your thesis just making the point that... what looks like Brand is getting a boost could be a weighting factor in the algo that is inherent to sites with known brands. The thesis is spot on, I'm just thinking brand is too exclusionary, therefore, likely damaging to the results and consequently the Google brand, especially, if it is to not improve results but bottomline.

IMO, every thesis that has been based on profit for Google rising by favoring companies doing PPC has turned out to be a bad or flawed thesis. It was touted widely during Florida and turned out to be just another guy wearing a tinfoil cap.

March 2, 2009 - 1:03pm

I agree Terry...it most likely is not directly a pure weight on branding...but likely a shift that focuses weight on inputs that just happen to often be associated with brands.

March 2, 2009 - 8:44am

Google has been experimenting with this in The Netherlands for nearly a year.

The top 100 corporations are getting the best keyword rankings without investing in SEO. Although in some cases this has added value for the users, it is a scary step forward. It reduces the free spirit of internet and makes it much harder for small companies to compete with the top 100 corporations. The power of internet has so far been that small companies could gain a bigger audience without having millions of marketing budget.

In terms of content, it is clear that the top 100 corporations don’t have the best content. But they are ranked the best, because of Google’s (manual) intervention. This makes the these big corporations extra lazy to get good content.

March 2, 2009 - 1:09pm

This makes the these big corporations extra lazy to get good content.

This is a big issue with relying too much on any one data source or type of site...it makes the source more likely to be corrupted by the likes of neglect and/or vandalism.

March 2, 2009 - 9:56am

I don't think this is the bad thing alot of people are making it out to be because it seems to me that what it will do is encourage people to search beyond page 1 of the SERPs. Most people who use the internet are looking for the best deal or the most convenient company to use based on the particular service they provide or their geographical proximity. This rules out most of the top brands because more often than not they are more expensive than smaller providers and offer less flexibility in terms of the services they offer.
If Google consistently serves up the top brands on page one for any particular search term then searchers will quickly learn to look on page two or tjree for the better offers that they previously found on the first page.
IMO this new development won't have too much impact on the small guys in the long term. What it will do though is change the way in which search engines are used, and i fully expect that in future, listings on page two and three of Google will receive significantly more traffic than they do now.

March 2, 2009 - 1:13pm

Hi Steve
I don't think Google wants to teach people to search deeper...they want to teach them to click the top link ;)

For geographically focused search queries Google already does a lot of different things to promote local businesses (to help offset the authority bias of their algorithms).

If you read about their eye tracking studies they did when launching universal search you will see that 2 of their big worries were

  • changing the scan pattern of the search results by searchers
  • shifting attention down the page
March 3, 2009 - 4:15am

I signed up just to be able to comment here.

There is indeed something MAJOR going on right now, ATM .GOV an CORP is dominating search engines.

I myself saw some of my blogs *disappear* from the SERPs after they had page #1 position for a year for a keyword!

I social bookmarked them on digg and propeller, nothing too extensive, and they disappeared from the SERPs within an hour!!

There is a person in this thread saying something like
"Google knows what people search" <-- thus legitimating a FAVORITISM on Google's site that THEY can decide what shall rank and what not. Based on what Google's STANCE is on the authority of a site.... OH MY!!

You don't see a potential danger in this???

Not only are the recent changes BIG (and many SEOs probably havent even realized whats going on...but introducing a bias which is dangerous, in my opinion.

I welcome the changes which obviously have been made in regards to content and keywords - making sure that content is indeeed high quality - but the brand ranking IRKS me extremely.

The net should have its own laws of ranking, based on backlinks, the preferences of its HUMANS who are the ones using the net - and NOT ranking laws as dictated by Google.

If a "brand" can rank - in essence this means that money can BUY google ranking - think about it!

This is a huge change and a BAD one...

March 3, 2009 - 11:06am

in fact that is simple: people look for nike not boots, coca, but not sweet cool water. Naming as well branding gives simplicity in search

March 3, 2009 - 8:06pm

Looks like RankPulse will die unless they decide to scrape Google's search results directly.

As recently announced, a new program was introduced today for Google Code Labs. We're proud that the AJAX Search API has already graduated from Labs, which demonstrates our long-term commitment to it.

Also part of that announcement was that the SOAP Search API will be retired on August 31st, 2009. It was deprecated in 2006, when we stopped accepting new developers for the API. Since then, it's been steadily declining in usage and we believe the majority of use cases are sufficiently handled by the more comprehensive AJAX Search API. - source

March 6, 2009 - 12:45am

Google is becoming the very thing it mocked years ago. In one of their patent filings, they referred to Overture as an advertising tool masquerading as a search engine.

"...Some Web site hosts have chosen to place advertising revenues over the interests of users. One such Web site is “Overture.com”, which hosts a so-called “search engine” service returning advertisements masquerading as “search results” in response to user queries. The Overture.com web site permits advertisers to pay to position an ad for their Web site (or a target Web site) higher up on the list of purported search results."

http://tinyurl.com/cbu8en

Google is now effectively a pay for placement tool also.

March 8, 2009 - 12:45am

Great post and analysis. I usually don't mind these types of changes. Changes are part of the business - in fact they keep a lot of people in business. That said, Vince is a bit disturbing.

Matt Cutts states that they thought about trust and authority during the Vince change. But there's no indication about how that trust and authority was determined.

It's difficult to see how you could 'turn the knob' on trust and authority to only benefit a certain group of sites. If it had been based on current signals it would be tough to not have spillover into other non-branded sites or into longer queries.

So, is it a new signal? If so, what is it? Or did Google assign authority in some new way? I can't believe it's not based on some sort of metric, so ... what is it? Will this new trust and authority be recalculated when brands go under - something that certainly could happen in today's environment?

The inability to determine how trust and authority pooled around these brands is unsettling. If it is successful for short queries would Google expand it to longer ones?

Brands (or any site) should earn their trust on a level playing field.

Anything else is a type of SEO Affirmative Action.

March 8, 2009 - 5:23am

Around Mid Febuary, a small eBay affilate site of mine, musiciansgear.com.au DROPPED to Page 2 (for search phrase Musicians Gear which was #1) , and most of it's internal subpages were put onto page 6, for previously first page rankings.

I'm starting to wonder if it was because of this update...

The little niche stores and smaller brands are what makes Google searches interesting.

What a capitalistic, blunt, and ultimately ill thought out idea. Lets cut the crap out with a blanked filter that gives preference to large multinational companies! Good one Google!

March 11, 2009 - 4:38pm

Someone give me Eric Schmidt's phone #. I want to give him a call.

This is such an obvious mistake! If I am hungry for the best fries in the world, I am going to search my iPhone for "McDonald's" and if I want a hotel that is guaranteed to have a pool I'm gonna search for "Holiday Inn"...I don't need Google to deliver the brand to me for a generic search for "restaurants" or "hotels"; I know how to search for them.

Besides, I certainly don't want my search results clogged up with every single McDonald's location for a search on "traverse city restaurants". I want to see the great local restaurants listed.

I have more reasons why I disagree but will hold them back for when I speak w/ Eric on the phone and beg him to:

Please, please, please...reconsider this change!

March 17, 2009 - 3:12am

Even the WSJ casually mentions the shift in Google's goals...

It's a continuing challenge for Google, which became the largest provider of online advertising in the world thanks to hundreds of thousands of small and midsize advertisers who fuel its business. But now, as it seeks to expand into areas that might not be as attractive to those smaller advertisers, it needs to lure brands with deeper pockets.

March 17, 2009 - 5:55pm

If it's just about making brands happy, this will be short lived. Just think of the negative effect it will have on ad spending.

If google gives away the top results to "brands" with the "deep pockets" then why would those brands need to keep spending money on ads? Who else can afford those spots?

For google, wouldnt it be better to let the little guys clutter up the results and let the guys that can afford it buy their way to the front of the line?

More realistically, I think google is looking at human factors such as time on site (bounce) along with email traffic, rss, social, etc. and using those numbers to vet out useful/junk. If real human behavior tends to favor a site - so will google.

But I've been wrong before. :)

March 17, 2009 - 6:44pm

If brand promotion in search results leads to lower AdWords spend then you know eventually it will somehow get reversed or at least toned down a bit.

May 27, 2009 - 1:12am

We read this post back in Feb. & unfortunately, did not put much into preparing for it. This branding phenomenon was recently applied to the keyword 'furniture'. We have not seen it for longer terms like 'bedroom furniture' or 'dining room furniture.'

Where's the best place to learn about effective strategies to cope with this algo adjustment?

May 28, 2009 - 12:04am

Part 2 of this piece is available in our member's forum.

May 1, 2010 - 7:39pm

I sincerely believe this is the most important post I have ever read. I re-read it regularly and take the implications VERY seriously.

I only work with very small businesses (from hundreds to under $3 million in sales a year) and this IS already having an impact on their search engine positions, traffic and sales.

The impact is small right now but I can see where it could be huge. It could conceivable put some of them out of business if they are not laser-focused on replacing that traffic.

Every time I look at an analytics account and see that 60-90% of their sales come directly from Google that scares the hell out of me. That doesn't even consider that much of the rest of their traffic is indirectly from Google (because that other site was found there and then sent the visitor on).

I have spent the last year working to develop alternative sources of immediate sales and I'm here to tell you that there is no one easy way to generate sales anywhere near the volume that Google is driving.

What that should mean to everyone is that Google is a monopoly with the ability to decide which businesses survive and which go under.

There ARE solutions within our control:

1) Use other search engines. (I prefer DuckDuckGo and hope Zuula will add them.) I have never found anything on Google that wasn't in their results except junk sites.

2) Buy only from small online and traditional businesses, CSAs, and coops. Every penny you spend with them stays in circulation and improves your community's economy. Read my post at www.growmap.com/womm to see where the money you spend with Major Brands is going.

3) Support those businesses by reviewing, recommending and linking to them using optimum anchor text.

4) Bloggers can consider joining us in the DoFollow CommentLuv KeywordLuv community. That is fully explained in my KeywordLuv post you can reach from the Most Popular posts section of my blog or from the Twitter account @KeywordLuv. As the new CommentLuv Editor-in-Chief I will be sharing more in the blog there as well.

All of this is explained in my GrowMap blog and I spend all my time spreading the word, teaching these concepts, and supporting those who are worth recommending.

That includes regularly recommending SEOBook. I do not have the time or resources (because I give almost all my time away to benefit others) to join here but I know Aaron is providing the best information about SEO available anywhere. He tells it like it is free of the usual disinformation about SEO found elsewhere.

October 6, 2010 - 4:54pm

Can anyone send me some solid evidence of this happening. Those graphs really don't cut it.

Thanks!

October 6, 2010 - 8:26pm

Unfortunately it is currently impossible to make a blind man see. Once they fix that issue we will be sure to show you the "evidence" :D

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