Google has expanded its self-service AdSense program to share revenue generated via Web and site searches with smaller publishers when searches are conducted from their sites.
Any publisher will be able to add Web search to their pages, but only those whose sites have already been crawled by Google will be able to add site search. Google had already offered publishers free search capabilities, but hadn’t previously shared revenue from ads served on results pages.
“Combine WebSearch with Google AdSense, and you can monetize more Web pages while providing visitors with an even better online experience,” reads Google’s pitch to publishers, posted on its site.
The program, called “AdSense for Search,” effectively gives smaller publishers access to the type of revenue-sharing deals Google has long struck with larger players.
“It was really a natural step for Google to expand the offering,” said Susan Wojcicki, Google’s director of product management. “It’s hard to work with everyone through a direct sales team. We think there are a lot of sites out there that wanted to have that [search] service.”
It also expands distribution of Google’s AdWords program to more search results pages. Keyword-targeted ads on search pages are generally thought to be more effective than content-targeted ads because the user is indicating an intention, rather than simply reading a page of content. International distribution will likely be improved as well, because the new program is available for sites in English, French, German, Italian, Dutch, Portuguese, Japanese, Spanish, Swedish, Danish, Norwegian and Finnish.
Publishers participating in AdSense for Search can customize the search pages with their own logos and color schemes. They can track the number of queries, clicks, click-through rate and earnings through their Web-based account interface.
Google is also testing what it calls “site-flavored” search, which customizes search results to reflect the content of the site from which the search takes place. A publisher whose site featured reviews of computer hardware, for example, might select “computers > hardware” to describe her site. Then, if a user searched for “mouse” in the “site-flavored” search box, results would favor the computer peripheral over the animal. The site-flavored search is being tested through Google’s Labs division and is separate from the AdSense program. It builds upon Google’s personalized search, which is also being tested in Labs.
The new addition of search to AdSense is in keeping with Google’s recent push to increase distribution of its AdWords listings. The company is in the process of beta testing Gmail, which will expand content-targeted ads to the email environment. It’s also reportedly testing a desktop search tool, which would presumably be ad supported.
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