Beer blogging about brands. Why?

Just how influential are beer blogs in Google search? Here's a wholly unscientific experiment.

I just Googled the brand names of five lagers to see what links make the first results page.

A major UK brand of lager achieves an even split (5-5) between links to the brewer and to retailers.

A major international brand of lager has three brewery links, two retailers, two beer rating sites, a Wiki page, a blog and a video review.

A regional UK lager counts four retailer links, two to the brewery, two to bloggers and one each to a beer rating site and their web designers.

A local, dare I say craft, brewer garners three links each to bars and what I'll call 'beer directories' (simple listing sites of brewer, beer and ABV). The brewer themselves gets a link as does a blogger, a video reviewer, and a news site.

Bloggers make twenty percent of the links at best. None in the top five.

These are my results. Your mileage may vary.

For the record, the fifth brand was Pilsner Urquell. They recently sponsored part of the European Beer Bloggers Conference. The first mention of that event in a Google search for 'Pilsner Urquell UK' appears on page four. I don't normally read that far down the results. How about you?

Is a beer blogger's influence over-estimated? Mainly by bloggers themselves?

Or are Google rankings not part of the brand's engagement metric?

If not, what do brands hope to gain by engaging bloggers?

I'm not sure what to make of this. I've got questions but my bag of answers is threadbare. Let me know if you have any insights.


  1. Welcome to the future. Google changed its formula to lower blog rankings a few years back and appears to have found a way to succeed. Also, they are gently steering readership to Google reader and away from direct visits to scoop the ad revenue such as it was.

    Blogs are now somewhat like the 8-track of social media. But as a retro information super highwayman, I still approve.

  2. Will give this some more thought but... Those results still sound pretty good. Most bloggers are just drinkers who've signed up for a free service. That the opinions of punters feature at all in the 'buzz' for major international brands with huge marketing budgets is incredible. And try googling Greene King... (But, again, you might get a different result than we did.)

  3. What's a beer blogger?

  4. What's a beer blogger?

  5. I forgot that Google has a separate Blog search engine:

  6. If a behemoth like Pilsner Urquell agreed to sponsor an event like the EBBC for a second year in a row, then must believe they are getting some value in return. The Google experiment doesn't give you an accurate picture because bloggers in general know very little about SEO and other tools that increase your "rankings" in Google, while big brewers, distributors and retailers have people working specially for that.

    Bloggers are important mostly for smaller producers, who often tend to use them as free advertising/PR. And it's quite effective because almost all of the readership of beer blogs are people who are already interested in beer.

    That said, I don't believe we are as important as some of us would like to believe.

  7. You also have to remember that Google will return different results for different people. Their algorithms take you and your history into account as well. Try doing it on something like and see what happens...

  8. The first scenario you describe is pretty much what you would want as a beer brand - links to your own platforms first to engage people in your brand (hopefully!) and links to where they can buy the stuff. Unless you get a big hit in a national then a blog write up can be way down in the search.

    Does that mean blogs don't matter and you shouldn't bother with them? Not at all, they should be part of the overall mix but not relied on.

    What's important is that over 30% of people use online articles and reviews to help them make a purchase decision . So, assuming a favourable review, blogs allow you to reach an audience that you perhaps wouldn't normally have access to and encourage purchase.

    The downside is often the reach is limited and blogs tend to be followed by like minded people so while you've got your product in front of them they're just as likely to reject as if you waved it in their face.

    If you're relying on blogs and not investing in building your own platforms you're on a hiding to nowhere longterm but, as part of an overall online programme, they have an important role to play.

    Although I've been on the receiving end of as many obnoxious bloggers overstating their importance as Boak & Bailey have bad PRs so pick your blogs carefully - less is definitely more!

  9. Kristy -- time for you to write a blog post advising bloggers how not to be dicks when dealing with breweries/PR people? Would be an interesting read.

  10. Oh, and I meant to say... when we're researching a consumer product, we often add the term 'blog' to the end of our search because we don't want the manufacturer's website, robot-run review sites or online stores, and we were doing that for some time before it ever occured to us to start our own blog.

  11. It's the long tail that matters. I have google delivering a lot of readers for beers, breweries and pubs barely covered by others, at least not in English. The same goes for beer festivals.

    When it comes to the major brands, I assume their web sites generally feature games, sport sponsorhip etc, everything but beer. (I rarely bother to read them, I am simply not interested in global lagers.)
    If, say, Carlberg wanted to use bloggers, they would probably sponsor competitions, giveaways etc.

  12. Oh my - now that's a challenge Bailey! I am ON it :o)

  13. Kristy -- if you can just not *too* obviously base most of your examples of bad behaviour on us, that would be great...