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Google’s 4-Pack for Branded Searches: A Subtle Penalty for RipOff Report?




Back in August, we reported that Google was testing a change to its algorithm that would see more than the standard two-results per web site–if it could be sure that doing so would match the searcher’s intent.

Yesterday, the search giant announced a small revision to that rollout–one that I believe offers hope to those with a negative reputation.

As before, we still provide links to results from a variety of domains to ensure people find a diverse set of sources relevant to their searches. However, when our algorithms predict pages from a particular site are likely to be most relevant, it makes sense to provide additional direct links in our search results.

With this iteration, our search results may show:

  • Up to four web results from each domain (i.e., several domains may have multiple results)
  • Single-line snippets for the additional results, to keep them compact

Here’s an example of how the four-pack of results will look:

So, what do we know? We know that there’s no chance that a company will get, say, 8 results from a single domain. Google is limiting it to just four. However, we do know that “several domains may have multiple results” so a company’s sub-domain could, in theory, also have four listings in the search results.

If you’re keeping count, that’s eight potential results “owned” by the brand owner. Not bad, if you’re trying to manage your Google reputation.

Lastly, let me ask you this. Does anyone else suspect that this is Google’s way of kicking RipOff Report out of the first ten results without actually going as far as banning it from the index?

It sure looks like a compromise on Google’s part. One that I am sure many companies will appreciate.

(via)

  • JB

    The most frustrating part of RipOffReport is there is no real repercussions for posting false reports. We have clients were we can show RipOffReport the false reports ( one from Santa Claus ) and they have a strong policy of not removing anything.

  • http://www.cassvillemarketing.com/ Vlad Zablotskyy

    Long overdue in my opinion. Do you think Google will do the same with BBB.org, if BBB do not get their act together that is?

    I sure hop so, there are many innocent business suffer in greater degree from BBB phony ratings.

  • http://blogginggenius.net Pete Carr

    After reading this, I went to google and typed in my main keyword for my blog, now I know I rank 1 & 2 for my keyword. The second result is interesting, because you can expand it, it actually shows 6 of my recent blog posts not 4.
    I was aware of google limiting it to 4 but seem to have broken there own rule. Cool for me.

    Pete