What is Google’s Magic Blue Arrow?

google_magic_blue_arrowLess than a month after the roll out of Google Instant , Google has introduced a less obvious update but one that could have equally significant impact on the way we search.

The very top search result is now flagged by a little blue arrow, like a bullet point.  The reason for this identifier is that Google search results can now be scrolled through using the up and down cursor keys.  This means that you can now use Google’s default search without using the mouse at all.  Once you have arrived at Google’s home page, you can search, scroll, and then select a search result, all using only the keyboard.

What does this mean for Advertisers?

The little blue flag makes the top search result even more obvious, especially since many users will not know the reason for it.  This will probably result in an increased CTR (Clickthrough Rate) for the top listing. This means that:

  1. It’s now more important than ever to be #1
  2. Since the top listing is often a sponsored ad,the presence of the arrow is likely to drive more revenue to Google who charges the advertiser for every Click-through.
  3. Google will  derive further revenue from advertisers’ higher bids as they attempt to get the top spot.

What’s your feedback?

Searchers, do you find the search process improved? Advertisers, how is it affecting your web marketing and sales?

6 Comments on 'What is Google’s Magic Blue Arrow?'

  1. Hi Nick, I found your blog through my google alerts for “nick cunningham” (we share the name).

    Thanks for this info- I’ve been curious how the google instant feature might effect SEM and I hadn’t even noticed the blue arrow. One thing I can say I am not fond of is that I now have to turn off instant to find the wonder wheel, but thats sort of irrelevant.


    Nick Cunningham

    • Always glad to meet another Nick Cunningham! I admit that I never got into the wonder wheel. I guess impatience and the learning curve were too much for me to change my search habits. I don’t see why Google couldn’t have left it as a standard option though, especially since it had developed a large user base (although maybe small by Google standards).

      Do you use the Wonder Wheel for all searches or just for specific types? It strikes me that it would be more useful when you’re on a learning expedition, like finding out about new music, rather than needing a specific piece of information fast.

      Just reviewed your website. I like the look. It also tells me that you probably used the wonder wheel for SEO rather than searching purposes?

  2. Hey Nick,

    I use the wonder wheel to get ideas when doing keyword research. If I’m going to make a website or write a blog post, and I basically need an idea for a keyword to target, I plug my existing idea into the wonder wheel and out come eight other related ideas… It’s not my primary source for keyword ideas, but it has provided me with a few gems in the past. Maybe its actually because so few people know about it, I feel so exclusive and secretive in its use. Also, it kinda reminds me of Cat’s Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut 🙂

  3. The last I heard there were over a million people using the Wonder Wheel. That was sometime back in 2009 so I can only imagine that the numbers have increased. That’s a pretty big secret society you’re a member of there ; )

    I haven’t read Cat’s Cradle but it’s going on my list now.

  4. victor says:

    Hi friends

    Im a bit worried about blue arrow:

    In my case, visits from first positioned Organic keywords have drecreased… does the blue arrow decrease visits?

    If you want to check it just compare Google first positioned Keywords at Analytics day 29th sept versus 30th sept.

    Is there anybody in my case?


    • Thanks for disclosing that information Victor. I’m not surprised that you’ve seen an instant negative effect in your AdWords. If your ads are not in first place, they become less visible now that there’s more focus on the first position.

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