Google Caffeine: Some Big Brands Will Gain, Some Will Lose
Significant displacement is revealed among big brands for some broad terms. After reviewing a number of high-volume category level terms, we found many big brands have swapped places in the results for individual key terms, while others have risen to new heights, and others have gone down to new lows. This is no small news to either the winners or losers, as some of these category-level terms may be generating millions of dollars per year in revenue, per term, alone.
Less emphasis on universal results. While it appears that universal results like video and images may be displaced by more blue text links in this update, don't expect them to go away, and don't stop optimizing various digital assets types. In fact, they may eventually come back at a greater frequency in future updates, as Google continues to test the right balance of universal in paid placements. Google has reported previously in interviews that organic universal results were cannibalizing paid results, and a future rollout of universal paid placements may help offset this issue until video and images can reappear more prominently without as much impact to revenue.
Some social media sites may gain in favor, while others decline. If there is any consistency in search updates like this, it's that positive and negative favor toward certain sites changes constantly. While big brands will eventually feel the algorithmic impact of the shift, sites like Facebook and Technorati generally seemed to have benefited, while Wikipedia may be slightly less emphasized throughout the results. Twitter may also get dialed up a notch or two in this update.
For enterprise marketers, the same SEO principles still apply. At the end of the day, what enterprise marketers get from natural search is impacted by 1) how you maintain your digital assets (things marketers control on- and off-
So for those who are already taking the best-practices approach, step back and prepare to observe the change. For those shifting with the wind, I would strongly recommend moving to best practices, and also taking this update somewhat in stride. While the best-practices strategy is always subject to good days and bad, it is still the best and most sustainable long-term approach. Again, note that the observations above come from previewing results, and may be subject to change upon final rollout. Just be ready to analyze the impact when this happens -- which, for your business, could end up meaning nothing, a little, or a lot.