The irony of Vince

by Peter Young on July 13, 2009 · 1 comment

Many column inches have been devoted to the impact Vince has had on the search results both here in the UK and over the US. The effect of Vince has seen many ‘brand’ sites occupying prominent positions in the SERP’s despite many traditional metrics suggesting they should performance on many keyphrases should be negligable.

There are obviously only a limited number of people who can definitively say what factors influence visibility in the latest Google algorithm update however a recent post by Patrick Altoft over at Blogstorm provided a list of potential triggers. These included:

  • Mentions in the mainstream media – how much does Google look at mentions rather than links in the authority algorithm?
  • Links from mainstream media sites to your homepage – the best indication of trust Google has
  • Buzz & mentions of your brand – again, how many people are talking about you?
  • Search volume for your brand – how many people search for your brand directly?
  • Traffic data – how many visitors do you get outside search?
  • Related search volume – how many people search for “confused.com” and “car insurance” in the same session?

Testiment to the impact this had on brand was seen on a number of key verticals including:

  • Travel – Thomas Cook went from out of the top 10 to 1st for the term ‘cheap holidays’ with similar traction seen on the term ‘holidays’
  • Education seemed to have minimal effect – possibly indicative of the lack of ‘big brands’ in the marketplace
  • Aggregators particularly within Travel seeing loss of traction
  • Many ‘loosely’ related terms previously seeing organic traction seeing loss of rankings across multiple verticals
  • Continued volatility in many finance and insurance ‘battlegrounds’

However there is a certain irony in the landscape left behind in the recent update. Much of Google’s attraction is that to a certain degree everyone is equal, which to a certain extent applies to both paid and organic search. Within paid search it is not necesarily he who pays more wins – although this is certainly a part of it – but he who markets his site best wins. This has always been the case with the organic results, with Google actively seen to promote good quality content, whether you be big or small.

THat would seem until now. Certainly be seemingly looking at a picture not necessarily restricted to content and links you potentially create a field which favours the bigger boys, and potentially those with larger budgets who can influence a wider range of channels. This would certainly appear to be a very different picture to previously and symbolic of Google’s continuing migration to the ‘Microsoft Moment‘ .

There is no doubting the current state of flux within the organic rankings, and it is unlikely we have seen the last of any significant Google updates in the short to medium term, however I for one feel it is a strange way for the algorithm to go particularly given the significant traction organic search was already getting in terms of SEO from big brands – or maybe that was just it….

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