For years there has been controversy about big brands and their special place in Google's heart. For the most part, Google's supposed brand bias is really an SEO
myth told late night over beers in darkened corners at conferences and in forum postings. Most sites that are big brands rank well because they meet so many points on Google algorithm – everything from authority, to quality score, to links, to social signals.
If you see Wikipedia everywhere
, as annoying as it may be, it positions so well because it has tons of content and more links pointed at it than stars in a desert sky. This doesn't mean Google prefers brands; it means the site is algorithmically awesome.
OK, so "algorithmically awesome" isn't really an SEO
term, but it might as well be. If you naturally meet more points on the algorithm than any of your competitors, then your gift from Google will be to occupy a higher position in the search results. It just kind of works that way.