A while back, Google decided to include a search box underneath the search results for a variety of big name websites. This box lets users search within a specific website, within the search results. A little confusing, I know. If you want to see for yourself, go to Google and do a search for Wikipedia, Nasa, Zappos, Census Bureau, or NY Times.

NY Times Search Box

When Google started including the search box on certain websites within the search results, I was kind of excited. This sounded like a great feature. It actually would have been a great feature, had it been utilized differently.

The first problem that I have with it, is that it only searches the site within the search results; it can only find the stuff that Google has already indexed. If you’re a website owner or internet marketer, you know that Google doesn’t always find every page of a site, which possibly leaves out some very valuable pages. What if a searcher leaves the search results for someone else’s site because that page they are looking for hasn’t been indexed yet?

Basically what the tool does is utilize the “site:mywebsite.com mykeyword” functionality, which leads me to the second issue. The user just stays in the search results, instead of going anywhere on the website. By using this search box, they’ll most likely think they will be going to the website, then they hit enter. Now they’re looking at more search results.

There is one big upside to having this tool though. If you happened to have the search box show up for your site in the search results and someone decided to use it, all search results will be from your website. Every result they see, is coming from your website, which is very likely to lead to a conversion.

It could be a good idea if it were tweaked a little, but right now it feels more like wasted space. Google just needs to put a little more thought into it. Either that or abandon it all together. They might be choosing the latter, because I haven’t seen it on any of my own searches for quite a while. One thing that you might notice though, is that if it doesn’t show up on some sites, such as Best Buy, it will show “More results from…” which basically does the same thing.