When Google made enhancements to the “Related Search” algorithms back in June 2008, it promised to be faster with better tangible results.
Over the Halloween weekend, Google released an improved version of the ‘Related Search’ functionality without much fanfare. There is little mention in search world other that a thread on webmaster world with 8 posting as of today. Google Extended the ‘Related Search’ results by adding these three categories (Brand, Stores, Type) immediately after the search box.
When I searched for a generic and broad term of “paint”, Google enhanced the related search by serving some of these suggestive brands, stores and types which linked to other search results on Google.
Related searches for paint:
Brands: Behr Benjamin Moore Sherwin-Williams ICI Valspar
Stores: Home Depot Lowe’s Ralph Lauren Walmart Ikea
Types: automotive spray exterior chalkboard car
What does this mean to the consumer?
It definitely help web users if they have the vaguest idea as to what they are looking for and the “brand, stores, types” should help the user with their search experience by slicing the information to small bits and pieces. Note that this only occurs for broad terms such as “paint”, searching for “red paint” does not yield the “brands, stores and types” related search functionality.
What does this mean to the businesses?
In this example, I would be ecstatic if I run Home Depot’s online division. Google picked me as one of the winners when it comes to the word “paint”? If a user would to search for “paint” and click on “Stores: Home Depot”, Google would serve information and deep link to Home Depot’s Paint category page.
What does this mean to Google
It would help the web user with more options as this only works for broad generic keyword searches. At that same time, we can argue that Google is favoring the big retailers and squeezing out the smaller players. Going to the paint example, these companies (Home Depot, Lowe’s, Ralph Lauren, Walmart, Ikea) would be getting much more exposure, but if I worked for Sherwin Williams, I would be wondering, what about us? Don’t we live, breath paint?
Also, most traffic would leave Google once they click on the search results, but with the “Brand, Stores, Type” feature, it would help keep the traffic on Google while improving time spent on site and pages/search queries served for Google.
As a whole, I think this functionality is a big improvement but being a marketer, my question is “How do I get listed as one of the “Stores”? Preferably as the first link.
This functionality is not affected by a web user’s geographic location as I tried a few zip codes but it still served the same results. It is also not affected by a Google Product Feed, nor does it matter if it is an eCommerce website as “Ikea” was listed too and it is not an eCommerce website when searching for “Paint”. Here are some of the other broad terms I search for which had the “Google Related Searches with Brand, Stores, Type”
Search Term: DIGITAL CAMERA
Related searches for digital camera:
Brands: Olympus Canon Sony Nikon Kodak
Stores: Best Buy Amazon Overstock Walmart Circuit City
Types: waterproof slr touch screen underwater compact