John Andrews is a Competitive Webmaster and Search Engine Optimization Consultant in Seattle, Washington. This is John Andrews blog on issues of interest to the SEO community and competitive webmasters. Want to know more?

johnon.com  Competitive Web & SEO

Search Engines Hijack Commercial Traffic

Sub-titled: “Rank for Your Own Domain: More Important Every Day”

A friend called yesterday with a concern. She no longer appeared for her own company (domain) in Microsoft Live. (By the way, she called it Microsoft “Live” as in the verb, “to live“. Pity Microsoft).

After a brief discussion to determine exactly where she was looking (browser location bar, search box, home page, MyYahoo, logged in or not, etc etc etc) it became clear that her domain no longer ranked for it’s own name (with the .tld) in Live.com. It ranked for important keywords, but not the company/store name.

Now that’s a common problem answered by SEOs, especially with Google during a good portion of the past year. It is frustrating, but usually by addressing the “cononical issue” we can fix it. Now it seems Live.com has an issue with 301 redirects (no big news there) and I will fix that for her. But that’s not the big story.

The big story is that conversation we had to determine the actual problem. Virtually all of the people consulted on this issue prior to calling me had “gone” to the website not through the location bar of a browser, but a search box. Associates, co-owners, family members, friends, contractors. They’ve done it, boys and girls.  The search engines have co-opted the public’s use of search via their incessant toolbars, home page settings, and distribution deals. They didn’t need to corrupt the SERPs after all.

Think this through. If some one gets a flyer that says “sale at www.MyStore.tld” and the customer “goes to mystore.tld” and it’s not there, but a selection of competing ads and websites are there, what happens? The lead is hijacked, that’s what happens.

Because users are no longer “going to MyStore.tld” via a location bar, but rather through a search box, the search engines are doing what we hated Crocodile/180Suspicions/Colarian for in the past. They are hijacking search and funneling YOUR traffic to  competing commercial web sites. Think toolbars aren’t malware? Think again. Think search engines are public utilities? Think again.

If you work on the Internet you not only know to use the location bar, but you force yourself to use it and avoid the middlemen out of security among other things. But you need to check in with your customers once in a while. They are now going to your website through a search box more than you probably know. It is just the beginning…. same old story about everyone stepping in to co-opt the commercial traffic, but this time it’s not MySpyWare.tld or BigdataAggregator.tld hijacking traffic and washing cookies, it’s the search engines themselves, and it’s already in place and working.

Why should MSN rank MyStore.tld for a search of MyStore.tld? There is no reason… if you want to go directly to MyStore.tld you should have used the browser location bar, silly. But since you SEARCHED for MyStore.tld, here are some related search reults you may want to look at…..

 

★★ Click to share this article:   Digg this     Create a del.icio.us Bookmark     Add to Newsvine

One Response to “Search Engines Hijack Commercial Traffic”

  1. Kirby Says:

    My wife knows tht most of my sites are keywordkeyword.com and they show up when she googles them. For quite a while she thought my skills were limited to simply owning the right domains.

    Then she started shopping online and she uses Google to bring up whatever companyname.com site she is looking for instead of just using the browser bar. She gets real frustrated when it doesnt show up, then really mad when she sees the name on the right hand side and clicks thru only to find some MFA.

    Now she finally has some appreciation for a skillset that she previously referred to as merely “playing on the computer”.