Question: what’s the fastest way to get top SERPs on Google?

Answer: after Google recently updated its algorithm, it just might be: be a big brand.

seobook.com’s Aaron wall has an interesting post showing how a number of big brands just started ranking for lucrative keywords such as ‘airline tickets‘, ‘auto insurance‘ and ‘watches‘.

Wall states that these aren’t anomalies:

There are thousands of other such examples across all industries if you take the time to do the research, but the trend is clear – Google is promoting brands for big money core category keywords.

If he’s right about the extent of the update, this is obviously good news for big brands and potentially bad news for everyone else.

Needless to say, some who are competing for highly competitive keywords and who aren’t on the Fortune 500 are concerned.

One comment stated:

…to add a little more proof, we’ve pretty much been outranking AT&T for
several years, but most importantly for the keyword “phone cards” (no quotes).
On Monday I did a quick check and noticed that AT&T was sitting pretty at #1
and I KNOW they don’t try nearly as hard with their SEO efforts as do we and
other smaller competitors.

Of course, Google does include trust factors in its algorithm and perhaps this latest update has changed the way they’re weighted, although one could make the argument that big brands, while recognized by consumers, don’t always engender trust when it comes to the customer experience.

Or it could be that Google is looking at other factors. Search Engine Watch’s Frank Watson writes:

To make this happen Google had to use some method to measure –
brands do not shout out numbers that an algorithm can measure – in
normal circumstances. Are they being rewarded for years of PPC spend –
not likely.

My theory – and is only that – is they may be using some sort of
measuring of typed in traffic numbers. But no doubt the methodology
will be explore quite a bit over the coming weeks and be a major
conversation piece at SES NYC next month.

Whatever the case, if Google’s last update is really as big as it looks, SEOs will have their hands full trying to dissect it and figuring out how to compete when they don’t have a big brand advantage. The cat and mouse game continues.