Google Site Search Change Opens Marketing Opportunity

Google recently sent out an email to users of its Site Search feature (as used by this site) to point out some changes.  Below is an extract from the email:

•    Site Search: If you’re concerned about users leaving your site through Websearch, you can now you can choose to provide just site search so users can find all the information they’re looking for on your site. We also recommend that you host the search results on your own pages so your users won’t leave your site when they perform a search.
•    Vertical Search: You can also allow your users to search across multiple sites – this could be a network of sites that you own or other related sites that you think your users might find useful. Examples of vertical searches include computer forums, travel
blogs, or political sites you endorse.

Emphasis mine.

Interesting, no?  I’m now wondering, out loud, how long it will be before sites start allowing advertisers to have their sites included in search results?

Just consider, for a moment, what this means.  Instead of allowing advertisers to place ads next to search results for your sites, they can get their pages to appear side-by-side with yours.  And what’s more, the results can be hosted on your site (or at least appear so) and take whatever format you like.  This will have two effects that will increase click-through on the ads.

  1. Firstly, as the page will appear as a search result, ad blindness won’t be an issue.
  2. Secondly, the other site’s pages will appear next to yours in the search results.  Not only does this give them highly targeted traffic (I can’t think of any way to get more targeted traffic than this) but it also implies trustworthiness and endorsement.  It’s unlikely users will know they are leaving your site.

As you can probably tell, this could become a very powerful marketing tool.  What’s also clear is that this wil have to be treated with the up most respect and care.  Allow the wrong site into your search results, and you could push visitors away in their droves.

One of the benefits of this direct search result marketing is that you can give your visitors added benefit.  If they search your site for something that isn’t there, they may very well find whatever they seek on one of your advertisers sites.  The potential downside is that your site never appears in the search results because your advertisers are better optimised in the eyes of Google.  It’s all a trade-off.

So what do you think?  Is this something you’d consider for your site?