Web-to-print and new Google interface

08/09/2010

Did you notice changes in the way Google search works? You’d better check it out if you depend on Google to send you search traffic. There are implications. Bad for you, good for Google and good for established leaders.

Business card search

  1. There is less space for search results. In fact I see only one for Vistaprint.
  2. There are a lot of ads
  3. It is easier to type another letter than to scroll the page

web-to-print search

More detailed search

web-to-print search

web-to-print search

Implications

  • Google gets to show more ad impressions. The more ads it shows you the more the chance you will see the one that appeals to you and you click on it. Google gets paid.
  • Users see more ads and less organic search because there is now less room for it in the browser window. Start paying Google Tax to fit into the screen.
  • Users are prompted to narrow / modify the search rather then scroll the page. You got to be #1 or you don’t exist.
  • Users are led down a narrow path of small number of top-searched queries elevating them even further. Trying to rank for some specific obscure keywords becomes less rewarding.
  • Google Images are not showing within the visible part of the screen any more. Usage of Google Image search will decrease compared to textual search. Good for Google – there are no ads on image search pages.
  • Those ranking for broader terms will get more traffic. Their links show well before links for more specific searches. E.g. searching for “business cards plumber” brings up Vistaprint (“business cards”) well before any other website that does have a good collection of plumber-specific designs.

How your web-to-print site will be affected

The nature of your organic traffic will change significantly. We’ll know in a few days as analytics data comes through. Stay tuned.

What to do about it

  1. Diversify your traffic sources. Less emphasis on search, more on links from other sites.
  2. Re-profile your content to see how relevant it is to the trending search queries. E.g. if you rank well for “business cards plumber” you may now get only a portion of the traffic because users are led astray by the search suggestions. You need to see what is being offered in the suggestions and how you can capture that traffic as well.
  3. Improve your conversion.
  4. Offer more free content and try to rank for searches with word “free”. We all love “free”.

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