Although we believe it’s been around for a while, it was only recently that we stumbled upon the ‘Something different’ section on the left-hand panel of Google search results. According to Google, the set of links in this section shows some queries that may be in the same category as your original search. These alternative queries can help you discover webpages that are indirectly related to your search.
For example, if you search for Skype, you could see Yahoo Messenger, Google Talk and MSN Messenger, which are Skype-equivalent services. Likewise, the ‘Something Different Group’ (SDG) for Amazon’s search results shows leading retailers like Barnes & Noble, NewEgg, Walmart, Circuit City and Best Buy.
Different pages on Google’s website explain how Google determines what links to show in a keyword’s SDG and how SDG is different from the “Related searches” section listed at the bottom of the search results page. For the purpose of this post, it’s relevant to note that “Something different” relies on web documents and users’ search queries to identify concepts that that may be related or are in the same category whereas “Related searches” generally help you drill-down further into the given keyword. For example, if you search for [giraffe], “Something different” may list other animals like zebras and elephants, while “Related searches” might delve deeper into your original search with things like giraffe pictures, giraffe facts and safari animals.
From the aforementioned criteria used by Google for building the ‘Something different’ section, we might be led to conclude that companies with poor web presence will be missing this section altogether. The following screenshot proves that this is indeed the case for a couple of such companies.
On the other hand, long-dead companies that once had strong web presence achieve rebirth in the SDG of someone or the other. Witness, for example, Andersen Consulting – a company that downed its shutters in 2001 on the back of Enron’s bankruptcy – in Accenture’s SDG.
In the next part of this post, we shall explore reciprocal relationships between a company and its SDG members and how they impact the business development efforts of different companies in a given industry.
Spoiler Alert: In the absence of any guarantee of reciprocity, we might see the birth of a new industry, which we’re calling Something Different Optimization. SDO could very well turn out to be the next Holy Grail of gaming Google Search.