Last week Google added some new tools to its search engine, including the ability to more easily filter results based on their type (or at least what Google thinks their type is) and date, as well as some visual tools including the time line and the subtly-named “Wonder Wheel”.
I wrote a general tutorial on Google Search over at Tech Digest, but while I was doing that it set me thinking whether Google’s new tools will benefit bloggers at all.
Some of these search honing options aren’t new — it’s been possible to search by date for ages, though I’m guessing not so many people have learned the syntax or used the “Advanced Search” form — while others are, though they could have been achieved by judicious use of search terms (reviews, for example).
However, they’re packaged in a more user-friendly, point-and-click way.
I wonder whether these new tools will benefit bloggers?
Google has already introduced the ability to search the content of blogs, though I’m not convinced that I’ve seen any real increase in traffic as a result. In fact, most of my traffic comes from the standard Google search.
Bloggers who publish news or other information as it happens may well benefit from users searching for items published in the past 24 hours, though Google is already known to push prominent sites (including blogs) to the top of the search pile at least for a few hours or days after a big event has been covered.
Bloggers involved in product reviews may well benefit from that search filter, presuming Google recognises the relevant blog posts as reviews.
Bloggers who post original video content may well be picked up in the video search. Though many people simply visit YouTube to search for content, Google’s video search covers a wider range of sources.
Those who run forums alongside their blogs, or whose blog posts are frequently picked up in forums, may also see traffic increase if users are specifically interested in that type of media (though I have to admit I’ve never searched Google specifically for forum posts).
It has long been noted that making good use of images encourages people to visit a blog. Google’s new option to display thumbnails alongside each search result could well be to a blogger’s advantage, although at present not all search results seem to be included.
It’s debatable whether the timeline and Wonder Wheel options will directly drive traffic to blogs.
Perhaps bloggers who publish some historical information about people, products and events may find themselves on the timeline.
Wonder Wheel may well push searchers to more niche search terms for which smaller blogs have a better chance of ranking well in.
Measuring the direct impact of these search terms may be difficult, depending on how stats packages interpret visitors. However, a general increase in visitors from Google (and possibly more targeted ones) over the next few weeks could be a good sign.
What do you think?