Brands get massive banners on Google?

By the Editor In SEO No comments

A branded search is the term used to describe a search performed by someone in a search engine for a specific brand. In other words a person performs a search for the name of a specific company. Today, Google has confirmed that it is running a test that involves large adverts at the top of the search results for specific brand searches.

Here’s an example of a search for Southwest Airlines:

Large Google Banners Branded Search

Google stated that this is merely a small test in which they’re looking at other ways to evolve search as they have been doing with maps, pictures, telephone number and other extensions that are currently available in Google AdWords. A Google representative said, “We’re currently running a very limited, US-only test, in which advertisers can include an image as part of the search ads that show in response to certain branded queries,”.

The interesting part is that Marissa Mayer, who was Google’s VP of Search Products and User Experience, stated in 2005 that “There will be no banner ads on the Google homepage or web search results pages. There will not be crazy, flashy, graphical doodads flying and popping up all over the Google site. Ever.” – it would appear that all these years later and that’s about to change. Marissa Mayer no longer works for Google though, ironically, she’s with Yahoo!

For many months Google has turned a strong focus towards brands so this isn’t a big surprise nor do we feel that it’s going to have much impact on search. Think about it, if you’re searching for a brand you will 99.9% of the time see the brand appear at the top of the search results, the only difference now is that there will be an image. Where it will have a big effect is those sites which try to capture traffic using brand names, for example, a company that does travel and hopes that people will book tickets through them and not the airlines directly. They will no longer capture those clicks in our opinion – the big image and result (as above) takes up about 88% of the real estate, that doesn’t leave much room for anyone else really.

 No information has been provided on whether a cost will be associated with this and that’s going to no doubt be a very interesting topic that will arrive soon!

What do you think, good idea or bad idea from Google?