|"Pages similar to" in the Google SERPs Footer|
Either this one slipped past me or it's pretty new - but I just noticed that some searches (often for a company name) will have a section for "Pages similar to" in the footer... and this is definitely NOT the same as the "Searches related to" block.
As an example, do a Google search for Dow Chemical [google.com] and scroll down. You'll see both "Pages similar to" and "Searches related to"
It looks like this section grabs the first four links that also show up under the light blue "Similar" link right by the company's result - except it skips domains that are also owned byt the company (DowAgro.com in this case).
Anyone done any digging into this search results feature?
Not seeing this, USA only?
Interesting clue here, maybe. I was researching this subject by doing various Google Searches around the "similar pages" theme, and Google gave me one result that was a newsletter about "relevant inbound links". It didn't even contain the phrase "similar page[s]" anywhere.
Hmmm... so the algo considers these two topics to be close, apparently: "links between pages" and "similar pages". I've long seen that the "similar" link exposes a lot of a site's place in the link graph, but now it seems worth a bit of a closer study. It's almost starting to look like the old Ask idea of web communities.
At the same time, I've seen some "similar" results that list tooth-and-nail competitors within and industry. These businesses would NOT be directly linking to each other, although some third party sites might be linking to both.
It's kind of unnerving to search on a company name and see Google give their competition a spot on that search result.
There was an announcement about this on the Official Google Blog on April 27th, 2010.
From the blog post:
|We've offered a "Similar" feature on results for a while now as a way to discover new, useful sites, but it hasn't been too visible. Since we've been continuously improving this feature and we think it's really useful, we're now going to start showing these alternative sites more prominently. Starting this week, for queries where similar sites are likely to be helpful, we’ll display a list of "Pages similar" at the bottom of the results page. |
Thank you Mr. Slawski - I've found it now: [googleblog.blogspot.com...]
Apparently that one did slip by me for a while. Well, it now seems to be worth a closer study!
As I'm seeing it right now... the "Pages similar to..." links appear in the footer when you search for company or organization name... or, in the case of very large companies, by company division. They don't appear when you do a keyword search for a product or service.
A search for [wikipedia], eg, returns links in the serps footer for...
These are the top 4 results taken from the serps page you'll see if you click the "Similar" link next to the "Cached" link for Wikipedia (but only if you've searched for "wikipedia").
I see the "Similar" link appearing on most searches, but not always on every result... and they appear to be query related rather than simply site-related.
Looks like you can get a sense of how (and if) a site is branded and get a glimpse of who the site's peers are by searching for the company name.
The results are not the same as seeing who ranks for a keyword search for a general branding category. Eg, though Radio Shack is one of those sites (discussed a while back when we talked about branding) that ranks for "electronics"... presumably because of branding... the sites returned for the "electronics" search are not necessarily the same as those returned by the "Similar" and "Pages similar" links on the [radio shack] search.
It's interesting that Amazon is so broad that it doesn't return "Similar" links. You have to narrow your search to [amazon books], eg, to get the "Similar" links... and I've seen this particular example come and go.
Google certainly has improved their "Similar" results. They used to depend on links alone, and many sites that weren't "similar" at all would be displayed. Now there's a much deeper intelligence showing through.
This whole area recently came to my attention because Company A's competitors are being displayed at the bottom of a search for [Company A], but there are no "Similar pages" being displayed for searches on the competing company names. It does seem like an inequity, but I don't know that I can do much about it.
I noticed this showing up for one of my sites a few weeks ago and I'm not pleased about it at all. Doing a check on the sites that google says are similar to mine and I don't show up in their results at all, but plenty of their link buddies/network do. Since I get a few thousand searches per month on brand/domain name, that's potentially a fair bit of traffic being siphoned off to others that isn't being reciprocated.
And it gets better yet...when searching for my domain name (.com), the top ten results are maindomain...domain/cat1...domain/cat2...domain/cat3...subdomain1...etc., and EACH of those listings also have a "similar" link to click with a slew of more websites.
Like, geez, we spend time/resources trying to create/build a brand (and google says it likes brands)...then google still finds a way to hack traffic away from it.