The New York Times reports that Google has unveiled a new search trick, allowing users on Google to search within a specific site and generate results without visiting that site. Google sells ads against this additional captive traffic, sometimes for competing brands. SEO Smarty has a good post on this, as well. It also shows that Google’s searches may not reflect the quality of the searches from the brand (i.e., Google can produce out-of-date, less focused search results, yet users may think they’re getting what the branded content source’s search would provide). From a brand perspective, this could be problematic.
For publishers who invest in specialized search solutions and generate page views from search, this may seem like overreach. Or it may provide some publishers with a better search entry point than they currently have.
As the head of Forbes.com puts it, Google was “seeing a huge amount of searches on their service from folks trying to find a piece of content written by a name-brand publisher. Google is probably trying to get additional usage out of their product and monetize those page views.”
Is this an opportunity? Or a threat?