dog-bed-google-versus-bing-shopping-experience-mark-simmonsI have two dogs. One puggle and one a mix of chocolate lab and trouble. I love my dogs, but they hate their beds. We don’t go but a few months before they find a way to tear up each new bed. It’s a bit frustrating, but dogs are dogs. Which leads me to the subject of this post. I need a new dog bed. And as the digital marketer and PPC advocate  I am, I took to Twitter. But just for fun, I wanted to see how different the experience would be.

What I found was pretty interesting….

I began by searching for “dog bed” on both Google and Bing. I then took screenshots and looked for the differences. The search results pages were distinctive and played a major role in my decision.

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#1 Paid Ads

Of course, paid ads appeared at the top, sides and bottom of the page, framing the free listings. The most noticeable differences were the use of color behind the ads and the number of ads. Bing uses a light blue which blends in more whereas Google uses a pink color creating more of a contrast. Now, I know the difference between ads and organic listings, but the casual user may not make that observation. While I’m an advocate of paid ads, you also should make it obvious that they are indeed ads. Bing seems to be masking this a bit.

The other observation I made was the number of ads. I counted 9 on the Bing results page and 10 on the Google page. Not a huge difference, but noticeable. Google uses more space per ad and so it extends down the page on the right hand side.

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#2 – Shopping vs Image Results

This was the clear winner for Google as I ended up clicking a shopping result because my eye was drawn to the images. Bing only showed image search results while Google showed both image search and shopping results. The net result is that I’m more engaged with the results page and drawn to the images. More images equals more opportunity. I barely paid attention to the text results.

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#3 Use of Video

Google was the only one to show me a video result which happened to be from Petco. Though I didn’t watch the video, I can appreciate that I was given the chance. I mean, really, we’re talking about a dog bed. I needed something cheap and basic since I know it has a limited lifespan. Now, if I was looking at a dog toy or some other device that lends itself to demonstration, then by all means. Show me a video. It does highlight Google’s favoritism for videos in search results. HINT

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What does this mean for you?

For me, I ended up using Google, clicked on a Google Shopping link and used the features to narrow it down to a waterproof bed from Overstock.com. For you, this brings to the surface an important user experience impacting both your Paid and Organic efforts. On the one hand, some people may be more likely to skip paid ads and go for free listings for their own reasons. On the other hand they may go for the paid or Google Shopping ads (also paid). It’s important that you cover your bases and optimize on both ends. PPC and SEO work to complement each other.

If you sell products that lend themselves to photos and you’re not on Google Shopping, you’re losing money. Simple as that. You need to make sure you’re taking full advantage of all Google has to offer. This means putting your products in the best place to be noticed and using techniques such as remarketing or retargeting to stay at the top of prospective customer’s minds.

Is you search marketing optimized for the sale?

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If you found this post helpful, please let me know in the comments below and by sharing it with a fellow entrepreneur or business owner. We can all benefit from this train of thought and learn from the mistakes of others. Feel free to sign up to my newsletter to get exclusive tactics and strategies as soon as I send them.

Yours in success,

MFS

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I’m currently working on a comprehensive Twitter e-guide. This will address the most common issues people have with Twitter and how to effectively manage the profile to grow your community, extend your voice and generate revenue. There will also be a few free bonuses to accompany the main guide which we be sold for less than $50. Five lucky newsletter subscribers will get a free copy to evaluate. Stay tuned….