Google launched new Flight Search, it is only available in the US (and only for key cities) but long term the plan is to roll out across the world. The system only has selected airlines at the moment and they look to be all US based.
So with this announcement comes the question from our clients, “How is this going to affect our search strategy?”
On Google Flight Search is being positioned as part of the search verticals like ‘blogs’ and ‘news’ where you can select specific types of content from your search query.
Google purchase Bing’s data source
Google purchased ITA (the US software company behind flight search and pricing data) in April – a key issue being that the purchase was only agreed under the stipulation that Google license the data to other websites for 5 years. This is important because one of the ‘other websites’ is Bing. A key point of difference when Bing launched was that things like flight search could be conducted from within the engine as opposed to Google who wanted users off the search engine to the best website as quickly as possible. This strategy is has been in flux as Google want more advertising revenue from search verticals.
The long term strategy for Google seems to be integration with the Google maps destinations system – so you can use Google maps to find car routes, public transportation or flights based on 1, the ‘best’ results for the users, and 2, brands willingness to pay to advertise. This model of best results and advertising opportunities has guaranteed Google success in the past and there is no reason to think this model won’t continue to work going forward.
User generated review site are massive for SEO
For our clients we are continuing to monitor strategically important sites like Travelocity and Trip Advisory as Google will almost certainly start using these websites to find the best routes and aggregate user generated reviews into the search system.
These user generated reviews site contain massive amounts of quality data on what most users like about products and services, therefore these sites are very important to Google when defining the rank of their search results. This is additional relevant after Google Panda’s cull of content farms because we can see from this algorithm update the value that Google place on these repositories of user opinion.
Some more information on Google Flight Search: