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Google Subscribed Links Offers Powerful Branding Opportunity in Search Results

There are a few things constant about Google – frequent acquisitions of cool companies, an increasing stock price, and an ever expanding catalog of products. Google Subscribed Links, the latest tool to roll off the Google widget assembly line, allows webmasters to connect with previous visitors to their site through search results.

It’s a far cry from Yahoo Search Submit Pro, which permits websites to intertwine paid ads with search organic results.Google’s Subscribed Link model is subscription based – it allows your visitors (with a Google account) to view a custom listing for your website in a search result. Because the listing is formed from a feed, the search listing can be updated in near real-time, potentially giving a powerful advantage to e-commerce and news websites. Google offers this service free to both webmasters and searchers.

What’s more impressive is that images and Google Gadgets can be incorporated within the feed; plus, you can specify the keywords that you want to trigger the custom search listing. To some extent, the performance of Subscribed Links can be measured through URL tracking.

Google Subscribed Links works like this:

  1. A developer designs a feed and pastes the resulting button code on their site.
  2. Your site visitors subscribe by clicking the button.
  1. At some point in the future, the person who subscribed to your feed will likely conduct a search for one of your trigger terms. Assuming the searcher is logged in to Google, your customized feed will display. Below is an example of a subscribed link for Weather.com

Of course, designing and managing the site feed requires at least a minimal command of XML and HTML. Additionally, you’re going have to induce your visitors to subscribe to the link (market the marketing tool); however, the potential opportunity for visitor retention and branding is just too good to pass up, particularly if your website ranks highly for frequently searched keywords.

One application of this new product that springs to mind is to serve as a complement to paid search campaigns. You could post a Subscription Link button on a landing page for a pay-per-click campaign. A visitor in the early stages of their search may not be prepared to convert right away, but assuming your site ranks organically, e-marketers could conceivably push customized natural listings to the prospect at every stage of their search and entice a conversion at a later time.

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