Google launched a new toolbar feature this week that allows users to type in a name, such as Grand Canyon, and be taken directly to the homepage for the site. If the users searches for something less specific or not recognized, Google will return the normal search results for that phrase.
I haven't yet been able to see this in action. It's not working for me, but perhaps I need to upgrade the toolbar. In any case, this could definitely have some implications for SEO.
If your site is not the main site for a term, users may now never find your site when searching for the term, even if you rank in position two or three. And how does Google determine what the official site is for a term? Can non-official sites compete with the official sites now? I'll report back on this when I find out more. For now, just posting a heads up, so that we can all be on the lookout for any changes that this might cause us.