eCommerce Concerns Regarding Blended Search

    June 17, 2009

The SEO industry has only seen one constant — change. The well known proverb, "change is the only constant" should be stenciled somewhere near all our desks. Sometimes the change is wanted, and sometimes not.

A specific aspect of SEO that has seen a lot of change is blended search. Jill Kocher of Practical-eCommerce wrote about her concern regarding blended search and e-commerce

"Although blended shopping and news results are very common (as are local results for searches related to brick and mortar retailers), I was hard-pressed to find a shopping search that included images or video blended in the natural results. Where are all the visually appealing blended results for ecommerce queries?"

Her thoughts lead to the obvious question. Is her complaint valid? I decided to conduct an experiment to find out for myself.

Here are the result pages for Bing, Google, and Yahoo when I search for "buy baseball bat" compared to just "baseball bat".  The results for ‘buy baseball bat’ will be on the left and ‘baseball bat’ will be on the right.

Google Results Page


 Bing Results Page

Yahoo Results Page



Just from the top results I’ve shown, you can see an obvious difference with Yahoo and Google. What was surprising is the results Bing….binged (ugh) back to me.

If you type "buy baseball bat" into Bing, you get the standard 10 blue links layout. However, if you just search "baseball bat" you’ll find the results are more ecommerce friendly than adding ‘buy’ into the equation. If you scroll down to the bottom of the results page for ‘baseball bat’ you’ll find a section dedicated to shopping for baseball bats. There are images and prices shown which aren’t found anywhere on the results page for the "buy baseball bat" query.

After conducting my test, I can definitely sympathize with Kocher. I’ve conducted different searches, and I get similar results as my baseball bat test. Is it  time that all of the major search engines become more ecommerce friendly when regarding blended search?