It seems Google has created a way to serve exclusive content in its search engine query results, increasing the value to advertisers looking to connect with like-minded consumers. The content is uploaded directly to Google's cloud servers.
For Google, it's not about searchers searching to find exclusive content. It's about the content served in query results being exclusive to the search engine and not Bing, Yahoo, AOL, or any other sites. Exclusive content brings people back.
Late last year the engine began experimenting with its invite-only tool, Google Posts, by allowing 2016 U.S. presidential candidates to write, upload and post content directly on the Web without having to launch a Web site, upload content, and wait for it to index and serve up in search engine query results. Now that olive branch has been extended to businesses.
The exclusive content appears in "cards," similar to those that serve up in Google's mobile search app. No indexing from Web sites is required, which means that Microsoft Bing's crawlers cannot index the content and serve it up on Bing, AOL or any other partner network, making the posts exclusive to Google and its partner sites.
"Currently the posts are not indexed, so they would not be visible to Bing," Mike Blumenthal, search expert, told Search Marketing Daily. "Whether that is a function of the test and wanting to make it less visible or a product 'feature,' we do not know."
Blumenthal says it appears that the posts go live instantly without delay, which implies that Google does not need to crawl the content for it to serve up in query results. This would make the posts the only exclusive content available to Google and its network partners.
"It looks like an elegant, simple SMB product that could be easily understood by small business and easily monetized," Blumenthal acknowledges, but says the potential for spam is so huge that he wonders how Google could really cope.
"Maybe they are figuring that these businesses could not say or do anything more stupid than the current crop of presidential candidates," he says. "If that is the case, then they underestimate the power of greed and ill advised self interest of which some businesses are capable."
Blumenthal first spotted Google Posts being used by a small business while searching for stores selling engagement rings in Buffalo, New York.
"The content shows up in a special unit, so it's not indexed," confirms a Google spokesperson. "Google hosts the content. The experiment began with political candidates, and now local businesses."
Searchers can share the posts from the search results page, but cannot leave comments or "like" them.
Once published, Google said the posts will appear in query results related to the specific content, and that they are shareable on social networks.
Similar to those on mobile devices in the Google app, the posts appear as "cards" that people can tap or swipe to provide more information.
Google markets the tool as a real-time communication publishing platform, and a podium to hear directly from the U.S. presidential candidates in real-time on google.com.
Monetizing Google Posts becomes easy if Bing and other search engines cannot access and serve the content.