What Does Google’s Update Mean for Advertisers?

March 25, 2009

Yesterday, Google introduced two new enhancements to their
result pages
. While neither of these enhancements affects advertisers directly,
they do affect the overall search experience and provide some insight into the
direction Google is heading as they further innovate on their search
experience. Advertisers should consider how these new features may come to influence
the way their targeted traffic acts after performing a search, and adjust
accordingly.

The first change that has been made is to the Related
Searches that are generally (but not always) found at the bottom of the SERPs. According
to Google, the technology that identifies appropriate related searches has been
beefed up, and is now better able to recognize searches that are associated
with your initial search, without being directly tied to it through shared
keywords. This is different from similar results at Yahoo and Live that basically
just add additional words to your initial keyword query.

For retailers, the related searches will probably not have a noticeable impact at this point. However, it is
conceivable that the “related searches” may begin to creep up the page or be
integrated in other ways as Google becomes more comfortable with their quality.
Before that happens, take a look at the related searches for your highest
traffic terms, and make sure that the ones that are relevant to your business
are included in your campaigns.  That
way, if the user can’t find what they’re looking for on the second search,
you’ll still be there to scoop them up.

The next change affects the length of the “snippets”, the
lines of text below the blue headlines of each search listing in the organic
results. Typically two lines long, Google will now be showing snippets of three
lines or more on longer, more detailed search queries. The idea here is that by
showing more text from the page, the user will better be able to find pages
that are relevant to their query.

We’ve posted before about the diminishing returns of long
search queries
, and it is conceivable that this update might lead to that
effect becoming even more pronounced. After all, since many queries beyond 5
words in length get very little volume and clicks anyway, imagine how many
fewer clickthroughs they’ll get once searchers are better able to find what
they are looking for in the organic results. Of course if your account is 99%
effective, then by all means, build out some longer keywords. For the rest of
us, our time will be better spent in other areas.

What do you think about the new improvements? How do you see
them affecting the search experience? Leave a comment below!

Written by Kevin Hill
(Kevin.Hill at ChannelAdvisor dot com)