Google gives results a single brand focus

Google is allowing the initial pages of its search results to sometimes be dominated by a single brand or website, if it has sub-domains and a "strong user interest".

In a major new issue for SEO experts, the internet giant said a user's query "may be restricted" to a search of the one website/brand most associated with that query.

So, where Google determines a keyword is specific to a certain domain, and that domain has sub-domains, it will overturn most of its first-page results to that domain.

Before, a search for 'Freelance UK Forums' returned only a few direct links - above similarly-worded destinations, but now the top six results are all FreelanceUK pages.

"We’ve launched a change to our ranking algorithm that will make it much easier for users to find a large number of results from a single site," Google said of the move.

"For queries that indicate a strong user interest in a particular domain, we’ll now show more results from the relevant site."

Yet retailers of branded products fear that sub-domains owned by the bigger label they carry will mean that their visibility on Google as a re-seller will suffer.

Affiliate marketers are also likely to moan if 'query rewriting with entity detection,' as Google calls it, effectively trebles the number of direct links a brand gets via Google.

However the search giant indicated that, as far as its engineers are concerned, the change to how it displays information online was no more than 'business as usual.'

"We’re always reassessing our ranking and user interface, making hundreds of changes each year, " said Google software engineer Samarth Keshava.

"We expect today’s improvement will help users find deeper results from a single site, while still providing diversity on the results page."

Last night, SEO experts said some brands were not getting the front-page treatment from Google that they might have hoped for, citing 'Nike trainers' and 'Ferrari cars.'

For clear examples of the change, and its potential perks, input 'Dell help' and 'Reuters news' - as each brand now has the top eight results linked to their respective websites.

 

27th August 2010

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