Aaron Wall, one of the most highly respected search engine experts in the world, reckons that the Google rankings have just undergone one of the most significant upheavals ever. The article Google’s New Search Engine Rankings Place Heavy Emphasis on Branding on his SEObook site is a complex read for anyone who only has a passing interest in the machinations of search engines, but it concludes that Google is now promoting brands more strongly.
What does this mean? It means that you’re going to be more likely to see the big name providers at the top of the Google results in future. And although most of us don’t deal in the sort of ultra-competitive areas where changes are already being seen (insurance, diets, airline tickets etc), there’s no reason why this won’t filter down to industrial products in time. There’s a long discussion at WebmasterWorld which you might enjoy if you’re intrigued about where all this is leading.
But the big question is “how do we get ourselves established more strongly as a ‘brand’ within our market?”, and that’s not going to be easy to answer. The good news is that you’re already halfway there just by being a proper manufacturer or distributor. The websites which have most to fear are third-party sites: directories and publications, for example.
We probably need to think like Google. How would it set about identifying ‘brands’? From the mass of data it has, such as the keywords companies are bidding on in AdWords, Google will be able to work out every possible generic product description in every market, from uPVC windows to spectrophotometers. Then it needs to work out who the manufacturers and distributors are, using its mass of search and advertising data. I can see how that might be possible too. After that, it needs to work out the most important brands, and that’s where things are going to be harder, especially in the (relatively!) obscure worlds which we deal in. Spotting the important ones in consumer markets is much easier – in social media, people will be talking about “Rolex watches” or “Nike trainers” all the time. In industrial markets, that won’t happen as much, but individual instances may have more impact. So when you’re on forums, or writing press releases, or chattering on Twitter, think about how you might word things to establish yourself as a ‘brand’ of your particular generic product. For example, instead of referring to this as “our blog”, we should refer to it as the “BMON online marketing blog”, to connect our brand “BMON” with the product “online marketing blog”. Just get into the habit.