September 16th, 2008 by George Aspland
In “The Beginning of the End? Or the End of the Beginning?” Kevin Ryan at Search Engine Watch talks about the emerging Universal or Blended search results which already is and will continue to dramatically change the search results landscape we’ve all been used to for years.
You should understand what Blended Search Results is and start taking steps to prepare for it.
Universal or Blended Search Results is actually an opportunity that could lead to more click throughs to your site and the web sites and web pages on other sites that you have influenced.
What is Universal or Blended Search Results?
Universal or “blended search” results is a “blending” of results on the Search Engine Results Pages (SERP) including web pages, video, news, images, financial data, etc
You may have noticed the links at the top of the Google SERPS for some years now (see screenshot below):
For some time the main Search Engine Results Page included mostly files such as HTML web pages and PDF’s, etc. Most searchers saw the default listing of 10 files on each SERP, that is they saw“10 Blue Links”.
If you wanted to see, for example, some image results on a topic you searched on, you needed to click on the Images link at the top of the SERP. These additional search results, called Vertical search, have not being used much. Many people ignore them or are unaware of them.
With Blended Search, more and more, the major search engines will be including many types of results in the main Search Engine Results Page.
Here are some examples.
This first one is from a presentation I gave at a direct marketing conference for Eastern Europe in Ukraine this past May. One of Jessica Simpson movies was one of the top movies there over the past year so I searched on her name as an example.
Near the top of the first page of search results a few sample images were displayed (see below) along with a link to see more images:
A little further down in the search results a News item was listed (see screen shot below) along with a link to see more news articles. Also notice the Wikipedia result at the top of the screen shot.
Here’s another example, this one for a search on “Titanic Movie” (which was also a bit hit in Ukraine). Notice the YouTube Video links in the search results below (and of course a Wikipedia result):
What does it mean? What should we do? Some Optimization Tips
The Landscape is changing. It won’t be the “10 blue Links” we’ve been used to in the future. Because of the blending of result types – images, video etc together with the web pages/files – there will often be less than 10 web pages or files on a results page.
The results will include more than the HTML web pages and PDF’s we’ve been used to. The search results will include images, videos, news, financial data, etc.
Work on getting results from more of these sources –
Video & images
News (press releases, promotion, mentions in articles, good works that others write about, etc)
Social media. If you also focus on other areas of social media, such as blogs, reviews, company and personal profiles, submission sites etc you’ll get more results in the SERPS (see below for a link to a post with some tips on social media below)
Do this and you could dominate the Search Engine Results Page for your own organization, product and services names and influence many of the results in the SERPs from other web sites for important topics (search phrases).
For More Information
“The Beginning of the End? Or the End of the Beginning?” Article by Kevin Ryan at Search Engine Watch