free html hit counter Cool New Search Referral Widget Live on Searchblog - John Battelle's Search Blog

Cool New Search Referral Widget Live on Searchblog

By - May 11, 2007

Finally! One of the ideas we bounced around in my blog merchandising post is live on Searchblog. Folks who come from search (I call them hummingbirds because they come via a very specific search, read one post, and leave) now get a box greeting them and giving them some search-driven options on the site. Big thanks to Jonathan and Ivan at FM!!

Here’s what happens when you do a search for “sea dragon” on Google blogsearch, and land at Searchblog:

Sblog Refer

Check out this one for “steve ballmer throws a chair“! It works for Yahoo too…though not MSFT or Ask yet…

I love it! What do you think?

Updated: It works now for Ask and Microsoft. Thanks guys!

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16 thoughts on “Cool New Search Referral Widget Live on Searchblog

  1. Matt says:

    I like the concept, but I feel like it’s in the wrong place. I want to see exactly what I was searching for first. Let me read that, then show me related stuff. “Hey, thanks for reading. It looks like you came from Google. You might also want to check out: story1, story2, story3, etc.”

  2. Jakob Lodwick says:

    It’s a cool idea!

    I had something like this on my personal site a couple years ago: when someone came from a Google search for some variant of my name, instead of getting my site, they got a huge picture of me and it said, “WELCOME, STALKERS”.

  3. SM says:

    Great! Where can I get one of these to put on my own blog?

  4. kd says:

    The widget needs to contain far fewer words. Hummingbirds don’t want to read long paragraphs. Why not just say, “Welcome Google Searcher. If you enjoy this article, here area few more you might like.”

  5. paul canning says:

    my first look comment is ‘wow’. that is sooo useful. from a user perspective, if you can get around the slightly creepy aspect of ‘detection’, this would excite people to be presented with. done right, it’s an absolute winner.

  6. Adam says:

    Very cool! How about a link to the RSS feed for your site in the widget!!

  7. wanderingstan says:

    If you’d like this for your own blog, just last week we added this feature (and with a few more bells and whistles) to the Lijit Search widget. You can pick it up on the Lijit homepage.

    Screenshots of it and other featues are in this blog post.

    This is all pretty new, so any feedback/suggestions are *totally* appreciated!


  8. umesh says:

    I regularly follow your blog in my rss feed, but here to ask a question for the first time.
    Google has the autocomplete feature where it tries to guess the word that is being typing. But if based on the word typed google shows the associated words/categories in a cloud floating around, and one can click on that category to view the search results in that particular category, or click the normal button and take the usual google way.

    kind of trying to combine amazon’s with google without increasing the time to get a result ??

    does it make sense ?

  9. Antonio says:

    I believe there’s a couple of plugins for wordpress that do this, there’s even a “what would seth godin do” that checks for previous visits and if this is your first/second displays a “welcome and why don’t sign up for my feed”..:)

    John, tried google with 2 different TLDs, one didn’t work. Also the highlighting script didn’t work well on Firefox.

  10. AdaMM says:

    actually for sea dragon it works, for steve ballmer it does not (IE showing some error on line 601, FF loading something for a long time, but without any visible result).

  11. AdamC says:

    Interesting but way too long. The open paragraph should be dropped to a 1 line intro followed by recommended stories.

  12. has been doing this for a while now, with a similar “Welcome Google User”. They also offer the ability to get email alerts on the topic that they searched on.

    more on that here:

    My suggestions:
    1) Don’t get in the way of what the user came for. Move the related stories below the story they came to see.

    2) Don’t spook them with the special welcome. Maybe that’s less applicable to this site because your readers know the search business.

  13. alex says:

    I love this, I have actually launched a really similar cocktail recommendation engine on my cocktail website to deal with the “hummingbird problem” (awesome description). It’s working well with 20% of the hummingbirds now clicking on one of the two recommendation links I display for those with the test group. I’d love to see the percentage impact on your site.


  14. Bud Gibson says:

    The idea is very sound, but it slows response time and is too wordy. Looking at the lijit link above, I like that idea of having a set of related links based on the search *but* without any delay in user experience. Maybe that means loading it after the content, sort of as an extra, not the main event like it is now.

  15. Trogdor says:

    I love this idea. Would that it’d have been made sooner. In fact, I foresee that before long, *many* sites will have this kind of feature … it’s just too useful not to have it.

    That said, it needs to be much more subtle. It might go well on the right side column, though it might get ignored there. Best place to put it is probably at the end of the blog post, just before the comments section. And, as was said above, it should be much simpler & smaller.

  16. Jason O. says:

    Nice innovation, I like it! Having it with a different color diffrentiates it from the general content of the page, so the visitor can see immediately what it is about and then decide to go on to the content of the page, or continue reading what is in the box.