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How does Google spot brands?

Alex Christie

2 March 2009


There is a lot of buzz at the moment about Google favouring brands in its search results,  a lot of people have asked the questions "How would you algorithmically qualify a site as a brand?" or "How does Google decide what counts as a brand?" my answer is, quite simply"Easy!".
There are a few ways to do this without resorting to toolbar data or browser stats. Google already has the goldmine of user queries for the past few months. The easiest way to qualify a search term as a brand would be to look at concentrations of search traffic for a set of high volume terms and then a list of all the high volume queries containing that term.

If a site ranks #1 for the phrase [twinings tea] and #1 for [twinings] then we can assume that "Twinings" is a brand and should get a bonus for the phrase [tea]. The same would not work for a query like [perfumed tea] because the same site would not rank for [perfumed] and if it did then so-be-it, they might as well be a brand if their authority is that pervasive. Similarly [ceylon tea] will not result in a the same site ranking for [ceylon] it is not a brand.

A small problem with this technique would be Wikipedia-like sites, which often rank for band searches as well as the more niche brand searches, these kind of sites would obviously have to be manually exempted from this brand bonus schema.

Using this technique there are a few problems with specific types of tea although the [oolong] and [rooibos] keywords do not have the same pages ranking in the number one spot, the same page does however appear in the top three. The only terms to pass this brand test were [Wu Yi] tea and [Twinings tea].

Maybe I am reading too much into this and it is simply a question of looking up the registered trademarks and giving them all brand points. So what if your brand fails to qualify for the bonus points, there is always the hard way, good old fashioned SEO.



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