Big brand rankings improved by Google’s ‘Vince’: Update

Back in March 2009, Matt Cutts explained an algorithm change (which he nicknamed ‘Vince’) that would improve rankings for larger brands and authority websites. If you missed it, here’s the footage from YouTube.

The algorithm change initially seemed to affect US results only, but in the last few days we have noticed this change is being extended to the UK

The development will mainly affect the big keywords such as “credit cards”, “loans”, “holidays” and so on. Bigger brands will easily achieve good search rank for terms associated with their business, and this will be less dependent on the number and quality of their inbound links. Google claims the algorithm takes ‘trust’ into account when showing results for the more general keywords, thereby giving bigger brands a higher search position than before.

But why does Google assume the big brands are worth trusting? Surely they are no more trustworthy than small and medium sized companies that provide a quality service? Until the recent recession, most individuals put their trust in certain financial organisations, only to be let down by their unscrupulous dealings. Do these companies deserve higher search rankings as a result?

Let’s look at what the recent algorithm change means for average Joe. If you have a lesser-known brand that ranks well for one of the ‘big terms’, largely because you provide a lot of excellent content and have quality inbound links, you will now struggle harder to compete with the bigger brands who will rank higher on the basis of ‘trust’. You may also find your rankings drop for the bigger search terms, with brand names leapfrogging over you as they land at the top of the results table.

So how do you combat this change? Most importantly, you need to establish your website as an authority on your subject or specialism and create more buzz around your company name. In doing so, more people will search specifically for your brand, increasing the number of online discussions, reviews and recommendations you receive. Google will then start to recognise you as an authority and ‘trust’ you as one of the big players.

Gone are the days when bulk link submissions and mass article distribution would throw you higher in the SERP’s. Now the only way to compete on some of the more generic terms is to gain Google’s trust by raising your awareness online and offline. We can help you to do this – so if you want to keep as visible as possible please contact us.