This update was named after the guy who worked on it. So ‘Vince’ it is…
Anyway, ‘Vince’ is a tweak to Google’s results that affects some pretty big terms like ‘mortgage’, ‘loan’, etc. The update seems to favour bigger brands and has pushed some of these sites further up the rankings.
The upshot is that in most regions you will now get delivered a set of results that will act as more of a roll call of all the ‘top of the head’ companies you can think of related to that particular keyword.
Here is a video from Matt Cutts about the change where for the first time ever he looks (very very slightly) sheepish.
Is this good? Well, certainly this isn’t good if you run a well-positioned site that is about these subjects. So, if you run a comparison site, etc. in these areas you will probably already know if this has affected your traffic.
From what Matt has said this update is probably looking at the overall weight and trust of a site (and the big brands have spent enough marketing pounds to win here) and the theme of the site. This now looks like it will win for these keywords over anchor text based SEO work. Is this fair? Probably not.
I think the missing element here is ‘quality’. What I mean is that just because you go to a big brand site, it doesn’t mean that you are going to get what you want as a web viewer. I guess Google are working on the basis that if you type in the word ‘mortgage’ you probably want a mortgage and they are looking to deliver results like a phone directory would. Whereas if you type ‘mortgage research’ you are browsing and want to see the full gamut of web pages that might help you.
Let’s see how this one develops. I think Google are (slightly) playing with fire here.
P.S. can you imagine the smile on the faces of the SEO companies who are looking after the major brands that have got the ranking jump? Claim that glory now boys and girls! Don’t let anyone tell you that it was just a Google update!