In February 2009, Google released an update that went largely unnoticed. Matt Cutts, head of web spam at Google referred to it as a “minor change”. Some of the more experienced SEOs out there have learned to take everything that Matt says with a pinch of salt.
What is Google’s Vince Update?
The update is called vince, and it most certainly should not be considered as a “minor change”. Although it was released a while back, it is still worth exploring. It will give us some insight into the type of link building techniques that we should be pursuing, and explains why bigger Brands tend to rank better in the SERPs.
Essentially, the update gave substantially more trust to brands. It meant that the bigger brands, which already had massive link profiles, had even more reason to rank higher. So, with Google screening brands against each other, determining which one has more trust, your focus should be on building your own brand.
Building an Online Brand
Creating a respectable online brand takes a lot. A great deal of it actually requires an understanding of wider marketing strategies, skills that typical SEOs won’t have. So, after creating an appealing website that entices users into exploring your products and reflects your brand positively, you may need some outside assistance with the following:
Develop a Social Strategy- Social networks are becoming increasingly popular every day, and people are using it as a means to interact with brands, and find new content. Not only that, but it is a fact that social signals are being used by Google’s algorithm. So, capitalising on social networks such as Facebook and Twitter will go a long way towards developing your brand.
Public Relations- Being able to communicate your brand effectively to the public will largely determine how much respect that your brand acquires. Both offline and online PR are an essential part of the marketing mix. For starters, consider creating and distributing some well-thought out press releases across the internet.
Content Marketing- Content marketing has become a hot topic following Google’s recent algorithm updates, which emphasised the need for compelling content. Video, viral blogs and infographics all generate social buzz, links and if the quality is good enough, your brand will become stronger too.
The fact is, Google is trying to evolve their algorithm into something that doesn’t rank sites based upon the number and strength of links. Relying solely on links to determine rankings has led to an online space full of manipulation- something that Google are sick and tired of trying to counter. They want to rely on more meaningful data, such as user engagement, social buzz, and trusted brands.
Create a brand that generates buzz and engages users, and the rankings will come. I’m not suggesting that links will stop being measured, but by focusing on creating a brand, your site will become a trusted source that Google will rank.