If you follow search marketing news, or if you are a tech savvy internet user who likes to test out new gadgets and plug-ins then you have probably heard and/or used Google Related. If you haven’t heard of it, Google Related is a relatively new plug-in for Internet Explorer, Google Chrome and some older versions of Firefox that acts as a web browsing assistant. As you brows the web and go to various websites, the Google Related toolbar will occasionally pop up at the bottom of your screen and provide you with other information related to the page and website that you are currently looking at (e.g. related news, related sites, related images, related videos, etc.). From a user perspective, its a pretty useful tool, especially when it comes to comparison shopping, related reviews and research.
However, form a business owner’s perspective, this tool could take traffic from your site and land them directly on a competitors site. For example, if you are an e-commerce store and someone navigates down to a product page, that generally means that they pretty high intent on buying. Imagine now that that person is using Google Related – they would be able to immediately compare prices, for the same item with your competitors. In the example below, this could mean losing business because your competitors have a lower price point:
As another example, what if you are a service-based business that uses your website to generate leads (e.g. an attorney)? In this case, Google Related will serve up related websites based on your content. See the example below:
Many business owners that have seen this at work on their sites have complained, including several of our clients, because there is now way to opt out of this program. So we have come up with a simple solution to disable the Google Related plugin. Because this plugin depends on the use of an iframe, a simple change to your websites CSS style sheet will make this iframe invisible. Here is what the code for the plug-in looks like (pay particular attention to the highlighted section):
You can see that the code calls the iframe with the class style called “grelated-iframe”. All you have to do is make that style invisible – just add the following code to your CSS stylesheet:
I have done some searches, and it seems that some of the bigger brands are unaffected by this because they have tons of relevant and related content on the web (e.g. toyota, ford, coca-cola, etc.) but most consumer products will be, especially as it relates to price comparison, and most content rich sites will be as well. From the user perspective, this is a good tool, and in certain cases, from a business owner’s perspective it is as well. It can help to reinforce your brand by showing all the various forms of content you have available (press releases, videos, reviews, etc.) It can also be used to find competitive niches that haven’t been tapped yet. For example, if you haven’t taken the time to develop video content, and your competitors have, Google Related will likely show you this.
However, if you find this plug-in to be a detriment to your site’s performance, feel free to add the small snippet of code to your CSS and voila, Google Related has been disabled on your site.