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Google’s Brand Update: Multiple Pages from One Domain being Displayed in Search Results
Thursday, August 26, 2010
Within the last week, reports began surfacing about Google’s latest brand update and the fact that a single domain could now be dominating the search results. Perform a search for “apple” to see an example of this. Previously, a well optimized site might have a single listing or if you were lucky a second listing for a given key phrase (not including sitelinks that appear with many branded queries). With this new update from Google, sites can now dominate the majority of the first page of search results. Does this provide the best user experience? For me it certainly does not. I mean I think that I am a pretty savvy searcher, I do not need a search engine to present me with 6-7 listings from the same domain. If the site that I click on has done their job well enough, I should be able to navigate and find the information that I am looking for pretty quickly.

So why has Google launched this update? Are they not confident in the results they serve up? If this “brand update” is solely for branded searches, perhaps Google could have just updated the sitelinks? Is Google catering to large brands possibly because they might in fact spend the most on paid advertising? Well according to Google’s announcement, the algorithm change will “… make it much easier for users to find a large number of results from a single site. For queries that indicate a strong user interest in a particular domain… we’ll now show more results from the relevant site.” Really is this what people have been asking for? Is this the type of relevancy that people are looking for? Will the user truly be able to find what they are looking for easier? Are you suggesting that the large branded site is not doing a good job directing people to content on their site when users arrive there? I’m not sure of the true value to the searchers with this update. Diversity? Well ok but is that not what the purpose or at least part of the reasoning that was behind sitelinks?

As Barry Schwartz over at Search Engine Land mentioned in his post, “On the reputation management front, this is a clear winner for those with reputation management issues.” Great let’s reward the sites that have reputation management issues.

If people are performing a branded search for a company or business, do they need to be presented with upwards of seven listings that occupy nearly the entire first page of results? Just how will Google determine which pages should and do appear? The diversity factor aside, different people may be looking for different things. Perhaps the searcher is looking for more detail financial information, while the branded site may have some of this data, chances are that there are other business sites apart from the “branded sites” that would feature more detailed and timely information. Or perhaps the searcher is looking for some testimonials from a third party thinking that the testimonials from the “branded site” are biased. Or the user simply would like a better selection from the results. Whatever the case, it is an interesting update from Google nonetheless.

Other Resources

Google Search Results Dominated By One Domain – SE Land
http://searchengineland.com/google-search-results-dominated-by-one-domain-49025

Dear Google: Big Brands Aren't Enough - SEOmoz
http://www.seomoz.org/blog/dear-google-big-brands-arent-enough

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posted by Jody @ Thursday, August 26, 2010  
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