Although Google is normally tightlipped about the way searches are conducted, one expert says new changes from the company means the future of search engine optimization is in brands.

When people talk about the history of search engine optimization (SEO), Google’s Florida Update is often credited with affecting the SEO of websites all over the world. But Aaron Wall, writing for searchnewz.com, says a recent update from the search engine was even bigger, but few noticed.

Wall says the update from Google on January 18th increased the importance of brands in search engine result pages. He says that since that date, a number of brands quickly started ranking for certain search terms.

"Add in other brands that were already ranking, and in some cases brands have 80 percent or 90 percent of the first page search results for some of the most valuable keywords," he writes.

According to Wall, the search engine optimization (SEO) community should have been able to pick up on the fact that Google would make this move based on statements from company CEO Eric Schmidt who was quoted in October 2008 as saying brands and word relationships would play a key role in the future development of search.

A study earlier this month from Practical eCommerce found that while most companies use search engine optimization (SEO), the majority don’t understand it with a large percentage believing it’s fine to engage in what may be considered unethical SEO practices.

Katherine Griwert is Brafton's Marketing Director. She's practiced content marketing, SEO and social marketing for over five years, and her enthusiasm for new media has even deeper roots. Katherine holds a degree in American Studies from Boston College, and her writing is featured in a number of web publications.