In the early days of Google it was great. When looking for information or to buy something I found a whole range of other outlets for information, shops and products that I would have previously been unaware of, and that would have been difficult to research or find otherwise. It gave me so much more choice and options.
Google shopping was another milestone as it was easy to find something specific and compare prices although this is soon to move to paid listings if it hasn’t done so already (I am now out of the loop somewhat). You might call me a dinosaur but good though Google local search might be, I still use other sites and directories to research local suppliers such as plumbers, electricians and the like as there are still those without a website that go by word of mouth and reputation.
I know I’ve been in the search industry for a time but I have tried to look at it from a personal user’s perspective so it may be deemed that my argument is flawed. It seems to me that the whole ball game has changed. I’ve mentioned in an earlier post that I think Google is now a bit like the high street and those with more money and a huge marketing budget to spend on bells and whistles, linking strategies and social media to develop their brand are now in the fore front, but what about the smaller outfits that still have a good product to offer?
There is social media of course in the hope that the business may develop via word of mouth but as a small business owner this is really time consuming so yet again you need to spend money on purchasing that resource and frankly, the jury is surely still out on whether it works or not? There is no level playing field anymore or was there ever one? (those companies that developed websites early on in the industry and to some extent are more established have reaped the rewards)
As a user I am already, readily aware of the big brands, such as Argos, Tesco, John Lewis, Hilary’s and the like so when I search for a product I’d like to see a wide range of results from the smaller shops and brands along with the big brands. If, for example, I want to buy blinds, the shopping results mostly feature Argos, Homebase, Hilary’s, John Lewis. I already know about these and can easily access the information. I was recently looking for a black jumper and in the organic search listings the only brand that I was unaware of was Woolvers. The majority were high street stores, retailers ASOS and Amazon.
I now have a tendency to move past page one when searching , which is a bit of a pain, and wonder how long it will be before this becomes more mainstream. Will the achievement of being ranked number 11 at the top of page two become more popular than being number 1?
In my opinion, for what it’s worth, the sooner Google moves from its paginated search results to continuous/infinite scrolling or a view all option (in their words- “view all pages are most commonly preferred by searchers”) the better it will be!