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Google sitelinks search box - How do you find it?

     
9:34 am on Sep 22, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Hi All,

I received this message from Google saying that "Google systems have detected that your site may be eligible for the new sitelinks search box"

Initially I was curious to implement the site-specific search engine by implementing schema.org markup with JSON-LD rather than the Google specific search box. But I was skeptical about the user engagement and wait for others to come up with their stats.

But Google has started showing up the Google search(site:) sitelinks search box right under my Website when a domain related, brand search is made.

I'm glad they found my site eligible, but there should at least be a place where I can vouch for sitelinks search box or remove them just like the sitelinks right?

Have any of you started using the sitelink searchbox, is it helpful?


Thanks,
1:56 pm on Sept 22, 2014 (gmt 0)

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I've had it running for a while now. Not many visitors seem to be using the search box though (and we do get significant searches for our brand). I don't really see any downside to it. IF people use it, they immediately end up on my site (then it's up to me to make sure I'm giving them what they are looking for).

If you have a GOOD internal search on your site, then you don't want Google to have the default site:example.com be the target of the search box. That benefits Google way more than it benefits you. Definitely make sure to add the json or schema code to direct the search target to your own site. But if your own site search engine sucks, then you are probably better off letting Google use the site:example.com method.
2:04 pm on Sept 22, 2014 (gmt 0)

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IF page views and bounce rates are important metrics. This search box will hurt it..
2:24 pm on Sept 22, 2014 (gmt 0)

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IF page views and bounce rates are important metrics. This search box will hurt it..


Can you elaborate why you think this?

As I see it, if someone uses the sitelinks search box with my site search as the target, they go directly to my site. That's potentially an extra pageview that I may not have had otherwise (although if they are searching Google for my brand, they are probably going to click something). I have a good internal search, so most people find what they want there and follow to the content they are looking for. No bounce. In fact, the total bounce rate for my search page is only 22% so most people find what they are looking for (or at least they find something of interest).

If you are letting Google use the site:example.com target instead of your own internal search script, then you may not get any pageviews if the user doesn't see what they want in the list on Google. But if they aren't clicking through, then there is no chance to affect bounce rate either.

The only argument I can see for it affecting pageviews is if someone would normally click on your homepage link in the SERPS and follow your site navigation to get where they wanted which would obviously generate more pageviews. However, I think visitors are happier when they can find what they want faster. So if they can get to the content in two clicks (the search box -> my search landing page -> the content they want) vs having to click through several pages of navigation then they'll probably leave with a better impression of my site.
2:56 pm on Sept 22, 2014 (gmt 0)

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I have used the search box and the results are opening up in Google. I have not seen an instance were it opens up in the site you searching.
3:02 pm on Sept 22, 2014 (gmt 0)

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I have not seen an instance were it opens up in the site you searching.


It's working this way for my site (goes directly to my site, does not open the results within google). I added the json code almost immediately after Google announced this but it took a while for Google to pick up the code. It's working as expected and I'm happy with it. However as I said, just not many visitors are using it yet.
5:00 pm on Sept 22, 2014 (gmt 0)

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The search is going to my site as well. Not where I want it to go yet, but it's definitely not on Google. Still tweaking.
7:37 am on Sept 23, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Thanks @getcooking
I've had it running for a while now. Not many visitors seem to be using the search box though

How can you know if the visitors are using it or not? Is there a way to track that?

IF people use it, they immediately end up on my site (then it's up to me to make sure I'm giving them what they are looking for).

Does that mean you have implemented the site-specific search engine? Mind to share yours or any other domains which has started using it already? I can only find those with the site: search boxes including moz.com.

Thanks @Rlilly

Thanks @netmeg
The search is going to my site as well. Not where I want it to go yet, but it's definitely not on Google. Still tweaking.

Great.

By the way, anybody has any clue how or from where Google generates those site specific organic queries with auto-complete in the search boxes? Does that help us in anyway to know users search behavior with our sites? And help our competitors too?!?

Also, have anybody noticed Google ads displaying in your site: search command results pages like this post says?
[blindfiveyearold.com...]
8:03 am on Sept 23, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Mod's note: For everyone's reference, we already have a discussion in progress here...

Google Changes Sitelinks Search Box Taking You Straight To a Site's Own Search Pages
http://www.webmasterworld.com/google/4700047.htm [webmasterworld.com]

I'm beginning to see enough overlap developing that I'm going to lock this thread and divert all discussion to the other. Otherwise, we're going to get into an unmanageable situation of two simultaneous threads on the same topic.

shaunm - Could you please check out the other thread and repost material from your last post, including the link to the blindfiveyearold article... but please read the other thread first. I'm not sure whether you've seen it. Thanks.
 

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