Search engine daddy, the ‘Big G’ as we affectionately refer to them in the SEO community, recently announced they will be adding a “buy” button on results pages for mobile users.
The California-based company intends to roll out the instant buy option in a couple of weeks’ time although an official date has not been announced. Initially the feature will only be available for mobile users, once more encouraging online businesses to target a mobile audience.
But that is not the only trick Google officials are pushing. The button will appear in search engine listings alongside paid search ads – and not organic listings.
This indicates the buy button will only be made available to companies that are paying for Adwords. Should we be surprised? Not really! Google is becoming a one-stop-shop rather than a research tool to find information.
How does the buy button work?
Google has been ominously quiet about the launch of its new feature, but a “secret sources” leaking reports to journalists at The Wall Street Journal said the buy button is a direct link to special Google page where you will be asked to fill out a purchase form.
This is likely to involve the usual online purchase process, following which consumers enter payment details and are passed through to the retailer to confirm the order.
Why consumers have to submit their payment details directly to Google rather than the retailer has not been mentioned! However, commentators suspect it is to make online shopping easier so consumers do not have to input the bank details on every site they make a purchase from.
Should that be the case, which is highly likely, and convenient for consumers, Google will essentially become an eCommerce platform that can rival Amazon and eBay. It will also encourage more online businesses to take out paid ad space.
Where does this leave small businesses?
Small business owners have expressed their concern, and quite rightly so. Without advertising budgets that can compete with large corporations and chain stores, independent retailers will lose their brand identity online and fall down search listings.
So much for the “level playing field” Matt Cutts was talking up a few years ago. It would not come as any surprise if the buy button backfired on the Big G. Without support from search engines, small businesses will take the social route and dismiss Adwords completely. The battle between search and social may just have taken a new twist!