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Search in Search: Raising Panic and What Else Google Has to Say

search within search Search in Search: Raising Panic and What Else Google Has to SayThis post is [again] courtesy of my fellow Mozzer – Rishil

A couple of weeks ago – we published Search Within a Search – How This Could Mean Bad News for Your Site. It seems that brands and marketers have realized how teleportation can harm a business brand, not just in organic, but paid search too. The idea has been picked up in popular press – the NY times managed to get some interesting quotes from various brand owners and specialists.

Pinny Gniwisch, vice president for marketing of Ice.com, would protest the use of the site in site search bar if it appeared for the sites he is representing “This is essentially giving the customer a way to leave a search for your site”. It seems that Amazon.com has already protested and Google has honored their wish to get rid of the SiS box under their brand results.

But what the interesting point that we picked up from the article was Google’s hint that not only is the process not directly manageable by a brand, but if it de-activates the feature – there are slim chances of getting it functioning again:

According to a Google spokeswoman, the company has honored such requests from “a couple” of unnamed businesses. These companies, however, may not be able to reverse their decisions.

“So we ask them to try it out and see if they want it removed,” the spokeswoman said. “We think it could be a really useful feature.” (quote from the NY article, emphasis ours).

Right – we are not sure what this spokes person does at Google – but we are sure this statement was an official one – and hence raises some questions:

  • Will Google allow SiS to be controlled via webmaster tools or any other method? (seems unlikely).
  • Which other sites have requested the SiS to be taken off, and what is the easiest way to do so at present? ( I would guess webmaster tools)
  • Why can’t the feature be switched back on? (Is it automated and needs manual intervention to get rid off?)
  • Is this one of the strangest innovations that G has introduced? It seems so – other features that G introduced had clear control by site publishers – at least in turning off and on – in the example of the site links.

It’s not that the SiS hasn’t got great uses – but I would guess instead of switching the feature off – a set of guide lines on how it works, what to do to switch it off would be useful.

Ultimately it’s wrong to show competing PPC on search results on a brand name – if that would be switched off – then we see less of a battle by brands on accepting it.

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 Search in Search: Raising Panic and What Else Google Has to Say

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  1. 12 Responses to “Search in Search: Raising Panic and What Else Google Has to Say”

  2. Is there any proof that Amazon actually DID get this removed? Does anyone have any proof that it ever existed in the first place for Amazon.com?

    I called Buy.com and they didn’t request to have SiS (thanks for the great acronym btw) turned off. Plus, the person I spoke to is rather focused on knowing what Amazon does on a daily basis and he had never even seen the SiS function. Considering he searches almost daily for Amazon on Google, I don’t think it actually was ever turned on by Google.

    I called a handful of contacts of mine at Google today and they weren’t able to point me in any direction to get it turned off. I did get confirmed that this is NOT a Google AdWords, Checkout, or Analytics product though. It was confirmed it is a Google Natural Search product. Thus, I think getting this turned off is going to be difficult.

    So . . . I ask everyone, “Have you requested SiS to be turned off?” If so, how did you do it?

    Again, I don’t think Amazon got it turned off. I just think it was never turned on.

    Brent D. Payne

    By Brent D. Payne on Mar 24, 2008

  3. @ Brent D. Payne – First – thanks I think the acronym works dont you?

    Re Amazon – this was reported in the article – unfortunately we havent your great contacts – and maybe we SHOULD put a disclaimer up there saying “unconfirmed”. But the Google rep does confirm that some were in fact taken off upon request.

    Re: getting it taken off – I agree it seems that you may have to submit some sort of request via webmaster tools – I dont know if that is the case though – which is where we need clarification.

    By rishil on Mar 24, 2008

  4. Got this from an Amazonian . . .

    It appears there is a screenshot of Amazon with an SiS result so . . . unless it is PhotoShop’d (highly unlikely), Amazon did get it removed at some point.

    http://www.techcrunch.com/2008/03/23/some-retailers-oppose-googles-secondary-search-feature/

    Brent D. Payne

    By Brent D. Payne on Mar 24, 2008

  5. Thanks for that Brent D. Payne – it helps verify the post above. ;)

    By rishil on Mar 25, 2008

  6. Google can claim that this feature is “for the benefit of users”, but it’s increasing Google’s pageviews and ad impressions so one has to wonder at their motivation.

    I saw one site where the company is bidding on their own brand name. So Google increases the chance that the company has to pay for a referral (as well as increases the chance that users click on a competitor’s ad).

    The statement, “These companies, however, may not be able to reverse their decisions”, comes off sounding like a threat.

    In my opinion it’s evil.

    By Pocket SEO on Mar 25, 2008

  7. If SiS provided a link into the site’s own search then I think it would be much better as the control of search results would then be in the hands of the owner of the site.

    This could easily be implemented using OpenSearch protocol and automatically detected by Google, but I doubt the would ever do this as it’s of no benefit to them!

    By Stephen T on Mar 26, 2008

  8. @Stephen T – awesome idea on the use of the OpenSearch protocol!

    By rishil on Mar 26, 2008

  9. “Google can claim that this feature is “for the benefit of users”, but it’s increasing Google’s pageviews and ad impressions so one has to wonder at their motivation.

    I saw one site where the company is bidding on their own brand name. So Google increases the chance that the company has to pay for a referral (as well as increases the chance that users click on a competitor’s ad).

    The statement, “These companies, however, may not be able to reverse their decisions”, comes off sounding like a threat.”

    Excellent analysis, and I also felt that the ‘you can’t turn it back on’ thing was like a warning ‘omg! no!’ wait! why would you do that?! do you know what it means?’
    -Owner: uh yeah, we get more PVs on OUR site and thus more ad sales on OUR site. Off please.
    G: Err yeah, but still, it’s really not cool.

    But from G’s perspective, it’s business – trying to boost volume of searches. I don’t see it as evil. Evil is trying to create a monopoly – here they’re just boosting how much people search.

    By Gab "SEO ROI" Goldenberg on Mar 26, 2008

  10. @Pocket SEO – You’re exactly right in that Google is doing this to increase searches, and thus pages views, and thus the likelihood that a searcher will click on a PPC ad.

    What everybody has to remember, however, is that Google is a *For-Profit* business. Just as other sites whose monetization strategy is directly tied to ad impressions take steps to find that balance between maximum page views and user experience, Google is doing the same.

    We give Google our site content basically without restriction on what they do with it from there so it’s kind of hard to complain, no?

    By Tin Pig on Mar 28, 2008

  11. I guess Google says “SIS cannot be turned on again” to scare us from requesting its removal (because you cannot know how the feature might develop in the future and whether it might be useful soon).

    By Malte Landwehr on Mar 29, 2008

  12. Yes, there is the danger that Google, allowing people to search specific pages within a company’s web site, may cause that company to miss out on some revenue.

    Otoh, this seems like it also may make my shopping experience, and my web surfing experience in general, more productive.

    If retailers lose out, well, too bad. Better learn to innovate like, well, google does.

    How this is evil, I cannot see. Creative, useful, handy, sure. Evil? Not even close.

    Suck it up, buttercup. Life’s not easy. Why should internet be?

    By Michael Sprague on Apr 25, 2008

  13. I guess Google says “SIS cannot be turned on again” to scare us from requesting its removal (because you cannot know how the feature might develop in the future and whether it might be useful soon).

    By Aşk Büyüsü on May 28, 2010

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