Digital Marketing

Jan 21, 2010

How universal search is changing the SEO industry

Universal search a.k.a Blended search is something that every person (who depends on internet for his daily and intellectual needs) experience every time he submits a query on his favorite search engine. The idea was first thrown in the year 2001 by Marissa Mayer, VP – Search Products & User Experience at Google who also wrote an article on the topic back in May 2007, when Google officially rolled out the concept on its search engine – Today we see all major search engines have adopted this revolutionary approach to make search experience even richer, and yet simpler for the user who is looking for most relevant information on web in the least possible time.

But what exactly is Blended Search?

As the name suggests, Blended search is the process of blending or mixing content from multiple sources and displaying them together on one page. When the idea was launched around two and a half years ago, the main sources of the content were – news websites, videos, images, local and books which are still independent vertical search engines. But today, we have started seeing more results from social networks like facebook & twitter and press release website which are updated more frequently than any other online media.

Universal Search is also known as Blended Search

Universal Search is also known as Blended Search. Click on image to expand

And how is it changing the SEO industry?

Earlier, website owners used to optimize their website with only focus on relevant content so that search engines can rank their websites on top of search results. It doesn't work the same these days now since search engines do not only rely on your website content. Instead, they have started looking for varied sources of information where they can find more relevant and updated content. News websites like CNN & Reuters; Social networking sites like Facebook & twitter; and Press release website like etc are some of the sources that search engines rely heavily on for their content.

Please note that this doesn't mean you should stop optimizing your website content. On the contrary, you need to start updating your website content more frequently now since search engines love new, updated & relevant content. This is probably why many company blogs and press releases have become so popular these days.

But is it really changing the SEO industry?

Yes, it is. Because people have really started publishing their content on all the types of online media which has slight chance of being crawled by search engines and get ranked on first page. Here are the few examples -

  1. Image results – All the search engines already have image search as an independent search engine which drives more than 10% of traffic for website owners. People have been focusing on optiming their images by using alt tags and more proper image names for quite some time now.
  2. Videos & Slideshows- YouTube, owned by Google has the highest number of videos uploaded on the web. People have started publishing a video presentation of their company or products demo. They, then promote it on YouTube by writing comments, adding ratings and sharing with more people so that it gets enough popularity to get ranked on first page of search results. Then these videos or presentations are pushed on to other popular aggregator sites like Vimeo, Slideshare etc.
  3. News Results – Press & news websites are the most hit upon source by website owners. There has been an evident surge in press releases published in last few years by website owners. The only reason being the importance given to such sites by Google.
  4. Local business listings – Google, Bing and Yahoo show their respective maps to show local business listings. Hence, every website owner makes it a point that their business is submitted in local business listing directory. They strive hard to promote it by adding more ratings, comments and sharing with friends & existing clients.
  5. Three blogs a week has become a reality. Website owners do not miss a single news however trivial it is, just to have something new up on their company blog. [Don't worry this post is not one of those ]
  6. Social media marketing (SMM) – SEO Companies have started offering a new service called 'Social media marketing' wherein they promote their brand on social networking websites like – Facebook, Twitter, Delicious, Digg, Myspace etc. They do it by submitting their brand name, linking it to their website, building network of friends and by commenting on other blogs.
  7. Google Product search – Online shop owners are utilizing this feature to promote their products on increase sales from Google organic search result. Google offers merchants a separate place to submit their products individually with prices and description. Google then shows their products on top of search results for the relevant query.

Clearly, the focus on just your website's content is the thing of the past. In order to maximize your chances to be on the top of the search engine rankings and drive more traffic, you have to be on your toes all the time and exploit every source of data that major search engines scour today for their search results.

organic search engine optimization said...

Properly optimizing your pages to make them “search engine friendly” can greatly increase your search engine rankings, traffic levels, and potential earnings from your website.

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