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Earlier this month Google launched a new function which allows searchers to search deeper within existing authority search results.

When searchers enter a query for certain terms, typically brand names such as “best buy”, an additional search box appears next to the authority listing allowing for a deeper site search. This site search will then search the specified site for your next query. This feature has been available for some time using the Google Toolbar, or by entering the command ” site:domain.com”, but was only recently integrated into the actual search results.

screenshot of Best Buy info on Google

But some retailers up in arms about this new feature. The New York Times reported Monday that a number of retailers and web publishers are complaining that this additional search takes users to yet another Google page, rather than to the official company’s website. This in itself may not be that big of a deal as the entire selection of organic results generated are for the single domain, however the problem escalates with the placement of paid AdWords results along side, prompting the opportunity for potential customers to stray off to the competition instead.

Alan Rimm-Kaufman, a former Crutchfield executive, told the New York Times “Google’s decision to sell ads on the secondary search page ignores the user’s initial interest in a brand retailer like Best Buy.”

When someone searches for a specific brand such as “Best Buy” and then performs a secondary search, they will now see the ads for competing sites, providing Google additional profit from these ads.

A Few Personal Thoughts

  • One relatively simple way to satisfy the unhappy retailers would be to add a simple check box within Google Webmaster Tools, If certain retailers do not want the search box appearing next to their result, then they could simply check the box and be done with it.
  • This new feature is of no use to me personally, as when times require me to more deeply search a specific website I tend to use the Google toolbar to do so, (especially when a site’s built in search functionality is insufficient), but I can see many potential searchers taking advantage of it.
  • I think retailers are missing one big advantage. Aside from already being the #1 organic listing, this search box helps to draw additional attention to their ranking making it stand out even more, and possibly drawing a slightly higher click through rate to the main site.

As with all new search features there are pro’s and cons. Only time will tell if this new feature will remain, or see its demise due to some angry retailers.