Among the many UI changes Google has tested this year, one that may really shake up traffic is the addition of links to brands at the top of the results pages. Bruce, Susan and Virginia discuss Google’s preference for brands and how the brand links at the top of the page must fit into one or more of Google’s goals: to satisfy users, generate ad buys or keep visitors on site longer. Google seems intent to reward big brands with SERP visibility, which makes the job of an SEO more challenging. One way SEOs may be able to adapt to the change is to optimize Google-favored brand names on their sites. Though, until the test is rolled out officially, it remains to be seen if such a tactic would be effective.
If you’re interested in a platform to share your best SEO, PPC and SMM advice to a small business audience, look no further than the Small Biz Discovery Contest. Bruce Clay, Inc. will be awarding the grand prize winner of the contest with a pass to Search Engine Strategies San Francisco. Entries will be posted to the Bruce Clay, Inc. site, and will be shared via the blog and social media channels of the company, meaning high visibility and branding opportunities for all participants, along with the promise of great prizes. To enter, write an article (at least 750 word) that answers the question: What one recommendation would you give to a small business owner to improve their online presence? Article entries are being accepted throughout May. If you’re interested, read more about the contest, rules, prizes, and how the winner will be chosen at the Small Biz Discovery Contest page.
Then Susan, Virginia and Aaron take a look at some search news. Google has launched a product reviews program. Product reviews and user ratings will be displayed in Google Product Search results and ads for participating retailers. Google has also renamed its Local Business Center to Google Places and added several new features, including photo shoots in select cities and a new advertising program. The search engine may be revamping its map and local listing service in order to better compete with the advanced offerings of Bing in that area. However, Bing continues to report losses in its online services division. Finally, the definition of a journalist is called into question with recent events in New Jersey and Silicon Valley. The question has definite repercussions in the blogging world.