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Matt Cutts talks about the Brandy Update

Written by David Harry   
Wednesday, 04 March 2009 20:28

..erm.. I mean 'Vince's Simple Change'

Hey kids... Matt put up a vid as part of the grab bag series and focuses on the 'Brandy' update (funniest name I heard so far, going with it)

I decided to quickly transcribe it for you - First the video and then the transcription and a few thoughts...

As expected, he states that they aren't so much targeting brands as only certain elements were tweaked that gives this appearance. He also reiterates that it's only in certain query spaces that this is happening.

"Inside of Google, at least inside the search ranking team, we don't really think about brands. We think about words like 'trust' 'authority' 'reputation' 'PageRank' 'high quality'.

The Google philosophy on search results has been the same, pretty much forever, is that somebody comes to Google and types in X, we want to return high quality information about X. And sometimes that's a brand search, sometimes that's an informational search, sometimes it's navigational, sometimes it's transactional."

"First off, YES, Google has made a change in our rankings, it's one of over 3-400 we make very year. So, I wouldn't call it an 'update', I would call it a simple change. If you have to refer to it, one of the people that did a lot of work on it, his name is Vince. This particular change, we talk about it as 'Vince's change' within the Googleplex.

I wouldn't really call it an update, but there has been a change in how we do some rankings. It doesn't affect a vast majority of queries, it's more likely, and most people haven't noticed it. I mean Aaron talked about it and I think even before that people at WebMasterWorld were talking about it. But it affects a relatively small number of queries, it's not like it affects a ton of long-tail queries or anything like that.

I don't think of it as putting more weight on brands. We don't really think about 'brands' in search quality that much. For example if you type 'eclipse', if Google were really focused on brands we'd return 'Mitsubishi Eclipse' at number one, or something like that.

And if you actually GO to Google and type in 'eclipse', we've got cause there's a development environment. We've got Nasa's eclipse website, and then there are some commercial results. For example, 'eclipse' is the name of that book in the Twilight series, so we've got a page from Amazon.

It's not that we always try to return brands. We try to return whatever we think the best results are for users. So, the net upshot of this change is pretty simple, we try to return high quality results. We think about trust, reputation, authority, PageRank and so what you should be doing doesn't change. Try to make a great site, try to make it the site that is sooo fantastic that you become an authority in your niche.

And it doesn't have to be a big nice. It doesn't have to be a huge, well known, key word. It can still be a smaller niche, that's the thing people are going to want to link to, that they'll talk about, the sort of things people really enjoy. Those are the sort of sites, the experts, that we want to bring back"

Brandy Update or is it Vince?


For me... I am still seeing talk of 'query types' and 'authority' here. Sure, we really aren't learning a helluva lot beyond what we did already, I just can't shake the feeling that this is 'trust' and query dependent related.

My main candidates at this point;

1. Trust factors such as domain age
2. TrustRank type concepts (linkage)
3. Query analysis (navigational, transactional)and query context

Other items that hold potential

1. Personalized PageRank (clustering)
2. Named entities concepts (and semantic relations)
3. Historical factors (including link velocity)

So, what did YOU make of it? Wonderfully crafter political prose? Or are there nuggets in the statement that tell us anything more than we knew already?


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