Google Books Vertical Getting a Big Push in Search Results, Clogging Up SERPs

Much like Google created a onebox for music, Seth Godin noticed they are now aggressively pushing onebox results for book searches. With Universal search, these verticals not only hit the top of the results, but also backfill in the organic results.

I searched Google for college * grant and 15 of the top 30 results were from! I couldn't reproduce a screenshot with 15 out of 30, but did get this one with 13 out of 30. Sure that is an obscure query, but how long until books show up more heavily for popular queries? It is almost worth setting up a quasi-publishing house to publish no name authors with Earth-moving tomes like:

  • Texas Holdem Poker, Blackjack, and Other Easy & Legal Ways to Make a Living Online

  • Forex Uncovered: Make Millions Trading Currency in Your Underwear
  • Online Pornography Review: The Complete Picture Guide to the Hottest Adult Fetish, Genres, Niches, & Sub-niches
  • Buy Viagra Online: Why is it so Cheap and Easy?
  • Call Viva, the Las Vegas Stripper: the Best Deals in Travel, Hotels, Shows, Girls, Escorts, Coupons & More from a Girl Who Knows the Town

The seedier the industry the more value there is in having a book published, but can books contain affiliate links? ;)

If Google is willing to give 20% of a search result to books (carrying Google ads), 20% to video (carrying Google ads), 10% to news results, 10% to Wikipedia, 10% to .gov, and 10% to .edu then suddenly we are all fighting for crumbs. In a market like that, perhaps the top 1 or 2 players get a near monopoly advantage, and thus becoming a leading blog (or other leading editorial voice) makes even more sense than it does in the current marketplace.

Published: August 26, 2007 by Aaron Wall in publishing & media


August 26, 2007 - 4:13pm

Quite an interesting idea that - setting up a publishing company like that ;). Sure it won't be long till people start doing things like that...

August 26, 2007 - 10:21pm

Perhaps I should write an SEO book to try to get into the SERPs. Dang it, looks like someone beat me to it :)

August 27, 2007 - 2:05am

Hey Aaron:

The key to the problem here is "(carrying Google ads)". Google is always going to be at odds with itself. Push more Google ads - risk less relevant SERPs. Push less Google ads - risk less "shareholder wealth". Eventually, Google will find a balance - for now we'll have to deal with what you're talking about.


August 27, 2007 - 4:50am

Do you think the same type of thing is occurring with Wikipedia? I find that a lot of SERPs are dominated by Wiki as well... maybe it's a bad example, but just an observation regarding SERPs.

August 27, 2007 - 2:25pm

This is very interesting to think about. I also have noticed for a long time now (maybe a year or so) that Wikipedia has shown up very high in the search results for just about anything relevant. But this is no surprise since everyone links to them.

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