Online holiday shopping will be easier now that Google has added additional search filters.
You may remember that last May Google expanded a searcher’s ability to sort queries by type, time and other criteria. These filters appear to the left of natural search results when you click the “show options” link.
On October 1, Google expanded your options with additional filters for sorting through blogs, books, forums and news, as well as returning more or fewer shopping sites.
These filters may make some e-commerce sites nervous. After all, Google is potentially letting searchers filter you out of the SERPs. In the long run, however, these filters are creating more informed buyers. These new options should help shoppers complete their research process and then come back to your site when they’re ready to buy.
For example, let’s say my celebrity-crazed 22-year-old cousin is searching for a black dress to wear to a New Year’s Eve party. The above results provide shopping sites and some pictures, but not the juicy gossip on what’s hot. Sorting that query by sites updated in the past hour that aren’t solely e-commerce related gives her this result.
Filtering in this way provides more timely results from sites that provide advice and suggestions. She can see what celebrities are wearing and make a better decision about the style she wants. Then she can re-filter those results to include more shopping sites.
Many of the same results that appeared in the initial search reappear when she asks Google to include more shopping sites. That means knowledgeable shoppers are able to research and then find your e-commerce site when they are ready to buy.
What’s perhaps more important is that your company can take advantage of these filters by thinking of them as additional doors to your business. Your company blog now stands a better chance of showing up on relevant queries because searchers can filter out all other results. Your company tweets are also more likely to appear in Google search results thanks to the “past hour” filter.
Compared to Bing, however, Google’s filters are hidden from the majority of searchers who don’t understand what the “show options” link does. Bing’s categories for “shopping,” “images” and “news” are plainly visible from their home page. As I’ve mentioned Google requires you to start your search before you are even presented with the ability to “show options.”
Despite being somewhat hidden, Google’s filters are useful. They also serve as proof that search is changing once again. Both Google and Bing are offering more options that allow users to efficiently sort through results, and that means more qualified traffic to your business. If your business is there.
Official Oneupweb Review: Oneup Thumbs-Up (Google’s filters provide searchers with more ways to sort results.)