Google rolled out its new search bar today, May 5th 2010. The bar essentially lets you modify your searches on the fly to get more targeted results.
There are quite a number of important changes in the new tool bar so let’s break them down.
Google Result Sorting
<This section allows you to sort the results according to type.
Most of this sorting has always been available to you, you just never used it because google always told you what you wanted to see.Ugh! So many options makes me want to curl up into a fetal position. Although Google does allow you to shrink it up if you don’t feel like looking at all that.
The next section I guess is Google as usual is tiring to put an emphasis on fresh content. With so much pressure on people to create more and more content, are we turning the internet into a wasteland of crap information pumped out by seo people?
<If you want to see the latest additions to the World Wide Web this would be the section to do it in. Custom date range I thought might be kind of cool if i were say doing a report on 9-11. Except the date wasn’t very accurate, and mainly served junk. It basically shows just shows you any thing that has that date and search term on the page.
Sort by date – just seemed to serve junk.
This one was kind of cool, I searched car and hit nearby and it served me small dealerships that were not very optimized but close to me. I dug through the top rankings of nearby results and it looks like websites that displayed their address on every page got top billing. So a key note here if you want to be more “nearby revelant” make sure your address is in your header or footer of every page.
Related searches – We are all use to seeing these by now at the bottom.
Wonder Wheel! – Oh what a fun little piece of WTF?!? Basically it is related searches expressed as a wheel with spokes.
Timeline – is well, same ole timeline.
Page preview – like it says, altho it seems to slow your browsing down. I think they render the images on the fly.
From what I can tell it seems like hitting “more shopping sites” actually relaxes keyword spamming penalties and goes for more focus on pure relevancy. That would explain why njstateauto.com and japan-partner.com are in the top 5 there. (Notice they both have used car twice in the title)
Take notice to the last listing, which is a new feature. Google is extracting the prices on items in your page and including them in the SERP. I looked through a couple of these pages and it looks like the key to this is having your product and pricing neatly laid out with “Price:” and “$” labels.
What disturbed me is for a specific car Search results when you hit more shopping, I would have expected to see allot of prices from dealers. Instead there were more accessory and parts websites then anything. Is it the lack of a shopping cart that throws Google off with dealer websites? Whatever it is I would say its something we definately need to fix.
All and all the price extracting feature it the most useful of the enhancements. Even with the relevancy issues of the results, I can still see that being very handy when you want to quickly shop for price.
So what does this all mean in the world of seo? Is it now a strategy to keyword stuff? Do your try to optimize for those people who are clearly in the market and looking to buy or just stick to the standard?
There is one thing I think Google missed the ball on with their new search bar. They should have included the ability to turn off the extra listings by having little check boxes next to the different search types. The mixed results are more prevalent now and it can get a little annoying.