Yesterday Google released an update which adds a left navigation bar to search results designed to allow users to quickly slice and dice search results.  This video explains more…

Google are clearly following Bing’s lead in creating a search experience which engages the user, keeping them within the search engine interface for longer and offering them the opportunity to intelligently refine search queries before clicking through to  the destination sites.

Bing has a complete set of videos available which highlight it’s ‘decision engine’ features designed to avoid ‘search overload’, by allowing the user to refine their search query and get to the correct result faster…

Websites with diverse and large content sets (such as Microsoft.com) often see huge amounts of long tail traffic from search engines, although a large percentage of that traffic can be from irrelevant search queries (which can be recognised when a user quickly clicks the ‘Back’ button in Internet Explorer after landing on a page).  I wonder whether we will start to see a drop in irrelevant search referrals as the search engines provide more sophisticated search result refinement capabilities?  I also wonder whether this drop would be welcomed by site owners? Particularly those who may have taken steps to redirect users, or engage them with ‘related’ links within their long tail content…

Author: Chris Moore is a Program Manager working on Search Engine Optimisation at Microsoft.  http://www.twitter.com/chrismdotcom

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