Google have made another huge leap towards trusted brands, now showing multiple listings from a single domain. From the example given in the blog post, the domain amnh.org has 7 listings on the first page for “exhibitions at amnh”. If you count the customary Wikipedia listing, that leaves two spaces left for other sites. Another example can be seen if you search for “apple ipods”
There is already a lot of discussion going on in Webmaster World around this, so be sure to check that out. But it’s another interesting move from Google:
Google is a commercial entity, their decisions are governed by money. This along with other PPC advancements (mentioned in How Google is Moving the Organic Cheese), is motivated by getting advertisers to spend more on paid. Organic listings are free, Paid listings are not. The share of traffic coming from paid search decreased in 2009 with organic share increasing. No doubt the recession was a big factor, but also, SEO can provide a better ROI. PPC can be a like a crack habit, you have to pay to get your fix, costs are going up and due to consumer behavior (researching more), conversions are down. SEO can provide a better ROI (long term).
Just to note here, I work in both PPC and SEO, I don’t advocate one above the other, I look at search as a whole.
Small Businesses / Affiliate Websites
How will this affect both affiliate websites and small businesses. They may not appear on a first page, which is now taken up by brand listings and Google properties. Paid search may be their only option.
The evolution of running an Affiliate website has been getting interesting over the past year. Google recently announced trademarks can now be used in Adcopy for Canada, UK and Ireland (this was already available in the US), giving Affiliates more amo. Google also began testing related ads meaning an Affiliate doesn’t need to bid on your trademark to be shown.
Of course Google has given brands sitelinks, which help them get more real estate for branded search, but it’s curios to see how PPC evolves.
Turning off branded search is always an interesting thing to test. Google’s constant tweaking with their Ads make it more difficult (if in an Affiliate heavy market) to switch of branded search.
There is a large part of reputation management that is centered around pushing bad PR down the Google pages. This may not be required anymore. If a brand owns the first page of Google (along with a Wiki listing), you may not need to worry about a negative listing.
It’s important not to panic, the sky isn’t falling in just yet, but search is an INTERESTING place to be right now !!!