Google has apparently begun offering (or at least testing) a feature to offer “Searches related to…” after their first page of organic listings. It appears to be a feature that only affects fairly broad terms and gives the user an option to narrow their search, presumably if they did not find what they were looking for after the first page of results.
For example, this search for baseball history brings up the Searches Related to… box as seen here:
For comparison’s sake, a more narrow search for national league baseball history is obviously missing the related search suggestions.
This is an interesting feature that could have profound affects on search. Although many SEO’s are already on a quest for the might “long tail” of search terms, this could place even more importance on more narrowly focused terms. Also, a site that doesn’t rank well for a competitive term, could essentially be placed on the front page as sort of a result 10b option.
Continuing on with my baseball history example, the site BaseballLibrary.com is no where to be found in a search for baseball history. But, with the help of this new feature from Google, I easily found BaseballLibrary.com by clicking on the first suggested related search, baseball history timeline, a term which BaseballLibrary.com ranks first for.
And, if more searchers decide to use this new function, what kind of affect will that have on sites listed on the second page of results (usually sites #11-20)? Assuming even more searchers would abandon their quest before reaching the second page, this time in favor of a new search that Google has suggested, there would be even MORE pressure on sites to rank in the top 10.
Overall I suspect this is a feature that Google will end up keeping and perfecting, learning how to better and better suggest the searches people ACTUALLY want. As I mentioned, I wouldn’t be surprised to see sites ranked 11-20 lose a bit of their traffic, however, more niche sites that rank for less competitive (previously lower volume) terms could easily see an increase in traffic for the phrases Google decides to suggest.
What are your opinions on this new feature? Will Google keep it? Will it help or hurt your sites? and Will it actually improve the “search experience”? Weigh in via comments or in our forum discussion on this topic.