Brand Finance has announced that Google is 2011's top brand, demonstrating the power of the search engine over the internet-using public.

Brafton recently reported that Google – the web's leading traffic driver – was down in terms of traffic delivered to media sites, while Facebook (though far behind the search giant) demonstrated year-over-year gains. Nonetheless, Brand Finance has announced that Google is 2011's top brand, demonstrating the power of the search engine over the internet-using public.

The report indicates that Google is the most valuable brand in the world, worth $44.3 billion. The firm says that Google's leadership in the search market has put it atop the list, and it reports that the brand has gotten a rating of AAA+ (which, we take it, is very very good).

As search portals become part of mainstream media conversations, this positive assessment speaks to Google's dominance in the market. Search marketers should consider SEO for Google to be a top priority if they want their businesses to be discovered and engaged by web users.

Microsoft came in at No. 2, valued at $42.8 billion, but Brand Finance made no mention of its role in the search market – or Bing – in explaining the company's overall worth.

Meanwhile, Facebook made the list for the first time. With a relatively meager net worth ($3.7 billion), the social giant is noted for its “effectiveness in entering new markets.” Indeed, it may soon be looking to enter the search market – and SEO marketers should take note.

As Brafton reported, it recently came to light that Facebook has a patent connected to social search results, which has led many to believe it may soon offer enhanced search features.

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.