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Internal Search Box Displayed in Google Sitelinks

Posted by Melanie Phung on Wednesday, March 12, 2008 at 9:59 am

On Monday, while doing client research, I discovered that Google is now displaying a site search box underneath Google Sitelinks in results for some general queries.

Sitelinks for navigational searches are becoming more common and you’ve long had the option to see “more results from [domain]” if you had an indented result — the “more results” link would show you results from the query you had just conducted but limit them to just pages from that domain — but a search box within the results is much more interactive. A search box basically prompts you to refine your search, but do so only within the most authoritative site.

Site Search Inside Sitelinks

Even more fascinating to me, however, is that this internal site search is displayed not just on results where the search was clearly navigational — like a search on “Intel” might have been.

Doing searches on bible-related phrases (don’t ask, it was for a client), I saw the same thing for queries that seemed pretty general.

I ran queries on [online bible], [bible search], [bible passages] and even queries using advanced operators and still got not only Sitelinks but also a separate query box for searching that specific site.

Site Search Inside Google Sitelinks

Imagine how powerful this type of display would be if you’re an e-commerce retailer! It immediately gives your site an appearance of even more authority and people can search your site without even needing to click away from the SERP.

Queries conducted with this Sitelinks search box also get saved to the user’s Google Web History if they’re logged in. Something you wouldn’t get if they used the search box inside your site.

Neither of the two sites given in the examples use the Google Search Appliance – so whether you use the Google enterprise system for your internal search doesn’t appear to be a factor in getting this to show up for your results. (The Google Search Appliance is a horrible choice for site search, btw. Not at all suited for site owners looking to provide on-site search functionality.)

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Comments (2)

Category: Google

2 Comments

Comment by Presidents Race

Made Tuesday, 18 of March , 2008 at 9:56 am

It’s nice to see Google innovating in areas other than advertising technology. This has a lot of promise for both searchers and publishers.

If we start to see more of this, then that means it’s working. What’s interesting is whether it will actually depress clicks on Google’s PPC ads. Even more interesting is the question of whether Google would continue to display this if it proved to help users but depress PPC revenue. Not sure we’ll ever have an answer to that one.

Comment by Melanie Phung

Made Thursday, 20 of March , 2008 at 3:52 pm

Some nice observations about search within search at SEO Smarty by Rishil.

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