Last month Google announced that they changed their “ranking algorithm that will make it much easier for users to find a large number of results from a single site”. This change affects searches with a “strong user interest in a particular domain”.
Many in the community have voiced concerns for the smaller websites and businesses who may lose more searches and search real estate. I want to take a minute to give you my thoughts on this….
- Only VERY relevant searches will trigger this
- Even small businesses with this type of search can and will trigger this
- It doesn’t matter, done is done… adapt and overcome
For example if I search for pro-webs or pro webs, I get the following enhanced result.
Now this is perfect for us, because we have taken great care to promote our “brand”. Essentially, both pro and webs are tough terms, even together to rank for. So, we use our brand consistently throughout the web and in everything we do. The result is that between, pro-webs, prowebs, pro-webs.net, pro webs company etc… We get a great deal of these very relevant searches for our business and domain name.
While this type of brand consistency is certainly the best practice for everyone, we learned this lesson the hard way.
Early on (2003), when we just built a few websites here and there and we started PRO-Webs, we were I was dumb! Yes, I personally own all of my mistakes… and the knowledge I have gained from them. Lets cover a few of the things I screwed up.
- Dash in the domain name (very bad!)
- Registered the .NET and not the .com (Remedied last year, for a chunk of change)
- I marketed PRO-Webs.net, instead of PRO-Webs
- I used link text that I thought was helpful for my SEO efforts… Never using “PRO-Webs”
- I answered questions and blogged without regard to branding myself as “PRO-Webs”
- I changed the logo several times over the first 5 years (Finally our graphic designer took all of the “versions” and made our current logo, which we put on EVERYTHING!)
- In content I used we, us etc… Now I use “We at PRO-Webs” for example, more frequently
- I used a silly nickname for logins and IDs instead of PRO-Webs
- The list goes on… But I think you get the point
What the result was… IF anyone thought I had helped them, or remembered PRO-Webs…. They NEVER remembered the address. Worse yet, if the “Googled” PRO-Webs, we were on page 5… UGH.
Remedy: We started and continue to use consistent and aggressive branding for our company. This means every opportunity you have to get your brand out there (email sig, forum sigs, blogs, directories, social media, etc.) you do so! Simple huh?
Some can find it challenging due to some poor uninformed decisions early on, but regardless of the past mistakes you must take the initiative to “own” your brand… This may even mean re-branding if the issues are insurmountable. Nevertheless, you cannot ignore the need for branding. As we move forward in to this mashable, social media controlled web you will start to feel the pain of poor branding more and more. Don’t wait… Do this now, it matters!
So in closing, we still very much consider ourselves “little guys” ( we like this ), but we have benefited from Google’s change nonetheless. Maybe it’s not so much the “big business” or “little business” that is really the issue here… But rather the effort to brand.