Google seems to be trying continuously to improve both user experience and stickiness on its web search and PPC ads. If you use Google regularly, you could already have spotted most of the minor and major changes below. The first example is on the search box, in which it normally looks like:
Below is the extended search box. The size of the search box increases when you enter a very long search query. This allows users to see his/her entire search query when it is longer than the size of the normal search box.
The introduction of Related Searches and Related Phrases are certainly for increasing stickiness. Stickiness is the number of page views generated on a single visit to a site. For instance, a user visited a web site and viewed 20 pages before he/she exits the site altogether, the stickiness he/she generated for the website is 20.
Google first introduced Sitelinks close to the end of 2006, but also introduced Site Search recently. Sitelinks below the top natural search result are links relevant to the top domain, in which they are either sub-domains of the top domain, or they are popular web pages within the domain. With Sitelinks, users do not have to scroll down the SERP.
Site Search can improve user stickiness on Google’s web search. After running a search on a brand, users are given another opportunity to search within that’s brand’s domain.
On Google China (Guge)’s home page, several graphical links pointing to popular Google vertical sites in China have been added. Back in the beginning of 2007, Baidu’s homepage decided to go for a cleaner and simplier approach.
- Ditu (Maps):
- Blog Search:
- Rebang (Zeitgeist):
- Daohang (Directory start page):
With paid search most of us as advertisers usually concern about click fraud. Google has 2 types of PPC networks: “Sponsored Links” for the Search Network and “Ads by Google” for the Content Network.
Both of the text ad formats have had their clickable area reduced. Before the change, the entire area (including the background area) of these ads were clickable. For the top ads of the Sponsored Links on top of the organic search results, the clickable area has been reduced to only the headlines. For the text ads in the Content Network, only the headlines and the display URLs are clickable. The major purpose of this change was to reduce accidental clicks by users’ mistakes, but it has also certainly improved user experience.
Another change is the inclusion of the “Previous” and “Next” button feature, which allows users to browse through all contextual ads within one ad unit.