Google treating brand names in search terms as site: searches?
This is the sort of SEO issue that I'm always a bit worried about blogging - in case it's been going on for ages and I look really stupid. But here goes.
It looks to me that if you do a search for some term (EG football) and the name of certain big brands/sites, Google has started to treat most of the first page as if you had searched for that term and done a site:bigbrand.com search (the site: operator will make google show results only from that site).
So before, if you searched for Guardian football I'm fairly sure you only saw a couple of results from the Guardian. Now if I do that search, all 10 of the first page of results are Guardian pages (click any of these pics to see them bigger, though most are only the first 7 results or so so they're not too big):
And if I search for Sky Sports, I see 9 web results for the skysports.com site (even though BT and Virgin offer Sky Sports channels) plus 3 skysports.com news results, one for wikipedia and none for anyone else:
If you search for Apple help, I'm seeing the first 9 results for the Apple website, then one page from mactricksandtips in at 10th:
Likewise, if you search for Amazon TV, the first 7 results are all from the Amazon site:
I'm sure it didn't use to be like this - I'd expect these searches to return two results from the obvious site, and then the rest of the page be other sites (or occasionally subdomains of the main site).
If it is a change, and not just a glitch, it is surely a massive boost to certain brands ... (if you likes this post, you might like this one on the google keywords tool and its (lack of) effectiveness as a keyword research tool).