Matt Cutts of Google’s Search Quality Team posted a video response to the recent discussions of Google’s new emphasis on “brands”. He says Google doesn’t think interms of brands, but factors like
- page rank
- high quality
Matt says yes, “there has been a change in how we do some rankings”, and yes, it may be favoring big brands for some but not all search results pages. But if it is favoring anything, Matt says, it is because of the above factors.
But Matt continues to explain that for each query typed into Google, Google looks to deliver the best result to a user. Regarding the query someone types into Google’s search box, Matt says:
“sometimes that’s a brand search, sometimes that’s an informational search, sometimes it’s navigational, sometimes it’s transactional…”
Hmm. Notice that Matt specifically identified one type of user query as “a brand search”. Ignoring the fact that Matt had just told us that Google doesn’t think in terms like the word “brand”, notice that “brand” is not one of the search query types identified in prior Google documents (such as the Quality Rater guides). Informational queries, transactional queries, navigational queries have all been described before. Brand queries… that’s new language to me.
Matt gives as an example the search keyword “eclipse”, and suggests that if there were a branding preference, Google would probably rank the Mitsubishi Eclipse as a result (but it does not). He does note that Eclipse the development environment is present (which I see is the #1 result right now).
In my opinion, Matt chose a poor example to support his argument that Google isn’t emphasizing brands. Eclipse is not an important term identified by the archivists at RankPulse.com (and therefore we can’t look at Google’s history of rankings for that term, to see if they changed on January 18), but Eclipse.org (the #1 result) is exactly the site I would expect to be promoted as a brand result. So is EclipseAviation.com, and Eclipse.com (both currently Page 1 results).
I’m not saying the SERP for eclipse is another example of a SERP updated to support brands. I’m just noting it is not a good example of Google not emphasizing brands over other sites (such as well-supported informational sites or well optimized, quality but not strongly-branded sites).
In closing, Matt repeats the Google mantra that good content produced by experts, as recognized by users, comprise the set of sites that Google wants to present as search results.
Before we go, should I notice Matt’s use of “sites” as opposed to “pages” or URLs in that sentence?
Watch Matt’s video here.