Google has dropped a bomb on shopping sites and their advertisers who have been counting on search result pages showing up in Google’s serps. Google says it ain’t gonna happen any more.
What’s been happening is that shopping sites have been optimizing their internal search results to show up in a Google search. For instance, a search in Google for “outdoor bench” today brings up the Bizrate.com page in the top 10 results – http://www.bizrate.com/outdoorfurniture/products__keyword–Bench+or+Benches.html – which is a Bizrate.com search results page. Google thinks this type of page showing up in their results is of no value to the searcher.
Of course, some would disagree. For me, this saves a lot of time if I’m comparison shopping. But, Google now wants sites to purposely block this type of page from being spidered in their robots.txt file.
Danny Sullivan goes into the whole issue in great detail at Google Warning Against Letting Your Search Results Get Indexed.
For those of us who have tried and tried to get a client’s page ranked only to be pushed back by these “search results in search results” it will be a relief. On the other hand, I can see where a site that doesn’t rank well or that isn’t in Google for one reason or another would miss having their site come up in these “back door” results.
So, there are definitely sides to the issue. The shopping sites are going to be scrambling to comply or face the wrath of the Google Gods while trying to find a way to cope with the loss of traffic that this will bring.
Yes, Google is opening a very large can of worms, here.