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Google searches for new business

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KAI RYSSDAL: When you get a second, go to your favorite website. Then try to find something using the search function. Chances are unless it’s a pretty well-engineered site your search isn’t going to work out so well. Which can be bad for business. So today the company synonymous with search stepped in. From the Marketplace Innovations Desk at North Carolina Public Radio, Janet Babin reports.

Janet Babin: Lots of midsize businesses already use a free version of Google search on their sites. Take Seth Godin. He founded At the bottom of his marketing blog, visitors can search just his site, or the entire Web, through Google.

But both options take users away from Godin’s site, back to Google’s pages, and advertising, where customers might find something they like better. But Godin’s OK with that.

Seth Godin: My philosophy has always been the more you’re connected, the better you do. But there are plenty of businesses that want to invest the money to make their site an island on the Web.

That’s sort of what Google’s new search service offers. It lets companies with hard-to-navigate sites employ Google’s user-friendly search technology.

Companies can better control visitor searches, so customers can find what they need without leaving their Web page. The new product also lets businesses limit the paid ads that show up on the searches, or even get rid of Google’s brand on searches.

Godin: This idea of “It’s my storefront, I control it” is worth a lot.

Prices for the new service start at just $100 a year. Scott Kessler with Standard & Poor’s says that’s chump change for Google. But he says the new service will eventually pay off.

Scott Kessler: Years and years down the road, this initiative could actually result in some material revenues as a result of customers essentially liking what Google offers and buying more, or just the companies themselves and their websites getting bigger.

Kessler says this is a great opportunity for Google to get a foothold in countless small to midsize businesses. Plus the new options probably won’t cost Google very much to pull off. The company will use the same technology it already employs for other searches.

I’m Janet Babin for Marketplace.

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