Google unwrapped two new search services for Web site publishers on Friday, promising to help them increase traffic and revenue from their sites, while extending the search giant's own reach in the online ad market.
The first service, Google AdSense for Search, lets Web site publishers put a Google search box on their site and share in revenue generated from ad clicks. The program is an extension of a service previously offered to larger Web sites and portals such as AOL and Earthlink, and requires no extra resources from Web site publishers, according to Google.
"This is something that small Web site owners were offered (from other search companies) before the dot-com bubble burst and it's good to see them have it again," said Danny Sullivan, editor of SearchEngineWatch.com.
Search providers have been concentrating on partnering with larger, high-traffic properties, Sullivan said, figuring that they'd rather share revenue than compete for traffic. AdSense for Search brings smaller sites into the fold, however. It also offers Google the opportunity to sell its AdSense program to new customers, Sullivan said. AdSense delivers content-related ads to publishers' sites, offering them a share of revenue generated from the ads.
The AdSense for Search program sounds like a good idea to Rocio Vazquez, art director and founder of the wedding design services site www.haveandhold.co.uk.
"If it's a small box that I can put on the bottom of my page and get some extra revenue, that sounds great," she said.
The new service also lets customers customize the search result pages with logos and colours, and track queries, click-through rates and ad earnings, according to Google.
Vazquez said that the customizable results suit her given that her site is about design. However, because her site and company is focused on design, Google is not likely to be able to sell her on its AdSense program.
"I think people deserve to go to a page and not be bombarded with adverts – I want to give them something more exclusive and more direct," she said.
Fortunately for Web site publishers not keen on ads on their pages, Google is offering another search-related service. Site-Flavored Search, also launched Friday, lets Web site publishers put a Google search box on their site which reflects the content of their own property. A site about computer hardware using the service would serve up search results on the word "mouse" related to the computer device and not the rodent, for example. This service is available for free from Google Labs.
Sullivan believes that Web site publishers would be interested in results related to their pages but wondered why the service wasn't combined with AdSense for Search.
"Who knows, they may combine them eventually," he said.