The gist of it
Google has recently announced an update to its site links search box. Prior to this update, when a user were to search for a specific website, the Google search would display a set of site links and a search box below said site links. Here it is before the update:
With this update:
- Search box is now above the set of site links
- Autocomplete has been added to the search box
- Users are taken to the website’s search page instead of Google’s search page
The above image is an example of Google after the update. For sites who want a site-specific search engine on their Google search go to the Google Blog update for the steps how to do so. Currently this update does not appear to have yet been rolled out worldwide. So it may still be in a testing stage.
What I think
One can immediately say that unlike recent updates like the removal of Google Authorship, or the implementation of Google Carousel, this update won’t dramatically alter any of the services that Google offers.
But is it useful?
Changing the position of the search box and adding autocomplete, while convenient, are minor. The major change is the user being taken to the site’s own search results page instead of Google’s. It is intended to remove a step from the search process for users looking for site-specific content.
When comparing the search results of Google’s search box and a site’s search box, often the search result share similar content and ranking but often times not identical. For users who find their searched website own search results page more intuitive than Google’s search result, this would be very convenient.
However this would only be applicable for users who do use Google directly to find websites and if they prefer sites own search results than Google’s. This update would also only apply to website’s who mark up their site and have a site-specific search engine.
At worst this update is harmless acknowledgement of Google’s continuous efforts to improve its service that only a small amount of its users would find useful. At best it would be a highly intuitive streamlining of the user experience, and add value to the majority of its users.
Personally I prefer using my search box to take me to the site directly and using the search box on the first page.
What do you think?
How do you use Google? Do you benefit from this update? Let us know in the comments below.
Also, if you want to further understand how Google and search engine results work, come to InboundCon September 18 in downtown Toronto, I’d love to see you there!