Will Google Finance Take Share From Yahoo Finance?

 |  Includes: GOOG, YHOO
by: Dominic Jones
Google Finance, the investing website that has yet to make a real impact in the year since it was launched, has just gotten a major boost with an important change to Google’s main search results pages. Now when people search the main Google site for the name of a public company, they will see an option to preview stock information on the company from Google Finance.

Previously, finance information was mostly only included in search results when people searched for a ticker symbol. The change, which places the stock information is an expandable “PlusBox”, was announced on the Official Google Blog.

Could boost traffic to Google Finance

According to Bill Tancer, general manager of global research at Hitwise, Google Finance had a less than 1% share of the business and finance category in December, shortly after the site was upgraded with new features. By comparison, category giant Yahoo! Finance had over 50 times more traffic with a 37% share.

However, the change in how Google treats searches for listed company names could substantially boost traffic to Google Finance and therefore increase its importance as a source of information for investors.

Google Finance

Now when Google users search for companies by name, they will see a PlusBox link that expands to show Google Finance content. See below.

Google Finance expanded

The above screenshot shows the expanded view. By clicking on the stock chart or the “More information about MAT” link, users will go to the Google Finance page for the company.

Extra click may slow traffic flow

While a boost in traffic to Google Finance from the main Google search pages is obvious, it’s unclear just how much more traffic we’re talking about. This is because instead of going directly to Google Finance when they click on the stock quote links, web users are given a preview without leaving the main Google search results page.

They have to click on a second link or on the stock chart to go through to the Google Finance page for the company. The extra click could cut the amount of traffic that goes through to Google Finance pages.

This differs from how Yahoo! handles searches for listed company names. It provides direct access to its Yahoo! Finance profile pages for companies via a hyperlinked ticker symbol next to the company’s name in its search results.

I’m not sure I like Google’s approach because it breaks a long-established convention on the Web — that when you click on a link, you can expect go to a new webpage.

But that doesn’t happen in this case. Instead, new content appears in the current page. Given Google’s popularity, it may be big enough to rewrite convention if it wants to. We’ll have to wait and see.

Of one thing you can be sure, though. If your stock is listed on a U.S. exchange, anyone searching for your company by name is going to have its stock price thrust in front of them much more prominently than before.

You just got some free advertising on the world’s most popular website!

Note: I used Mattel as an example for no specific reason. It happened to be on my mind at the time. I have two youngsters who have a keen interest in the company’s goods.