Beware the danger in the search box

You might have seen search boxes integrated into Google results sporadically in the past, for major sites. Now, however, Google is contacting many brands to announce that the concept is being rolled out more widely, and the box will be much more prominent. And there’s a potential problem looming.

I looked around to find an example of a UK engineering or scientific company who has the search box, and found one quite quickly with Renishaw (below). As you can see, it is indeed more prominent:

renishaw1

Note that the search box only appears for searches on the company name; what’s happening here is that Google assumes anyone looking for a brand might then want to make a product search within that site. So that’s exactly what it’s providing.

Now, here’s the problem. If the site’s search system is compatible, and is marked up accordingly, anyone typing in a query will be taken to the site’s results page. Which is great. But for most sites, what users will get is another Google search results page, a “site search” using Google. This is the case in our example above, and can you see the problem?

renishaw2

Yes, it’s a standard Google results page with adverts above the results. Adverts for competitors.

I would guess that if you’re considered a large enough brand to get “sitelinks” (those secondary results below the main one) on a search for your company name, then you might be about to get a search box too. If you don’t want the result to be a Google site search, as above, then you need to get things sorted. There are details here.

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