Optimizing for Universal Search

Guest Blogger:  Jenn Horowitz, EcomBuffet.com

I was sitting here quietly working away on this Blog post when suddenly everything starts shaking. I’m thinking “wow, my ideas really rocked the world!”

No such luck though – it’s just an earthquake. Holy @%$# an earthquake??? Will there be another shake up? Am I prepared for it?

I swear, I didn’t make the earthquake up – it just happened in Orange County, California. It also happens to segue me perfectly into the topic I was actually going to talk to you about.

So, let’s talk about how prepared you are for a different kind of shake up: a search engine shake up. It’s the introduction of Universal / Blended Search.

So, What is Universal Search and Why Should You Care?

In summary, Universal Search combines all the information within its Vertical engines/databases into one index to serve a single set of SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages).

An example of Vertical engines/databases are Google News, Google Video, Google Images etc.

What this means is when you go to www.google.com, (their most highly trafficked domain) and do a search, rather than just getting websites from their main index, you will also get results from the News, Images, Video, etc databases as well. It is a more comprehensive results page.

Google Vice President of Search Products and User Experience [tag-tec]Marissa Mayer[/tag-tec] said the company’s goal for universal search is to create “a seamless, integrated experience to get users the best answers.”

Sometimes the information you are looking for is best delivered by video, or images or a news story. Currently you would have to search each of the Vertical engines/databases to get all the information. Google is planning to integrate it into one set of SERPs.

As a searcher this means easier access to various forms of information with only one search. It seems like a good thing, as long as the results are easily organized on the page. It could mean more scrolling to get to the different areas of results, depending how they lay it out.

As a business owner looking to gain new traffic from the engines, this could either work for or against you – depending on what action you take right now.

What To Do and Why

If your site isn’t already properly optimized for organic rankings, that would be the place to start. You want to make sure you have clean, search engine friendly code and a solid foundation, as well as on-page optimization, in-coming links etc. This would be the starting point. Without this in place you have no hope of competing in the engines – with or without Universal Search.

If your site is already properly and aggressively optimized then you are in good shape to build on that and benefit from Universal Search.

Since Universal Search will take information from the Verticals (like images, press releases, videos, audios, Blog postings, etc) you want to make sure that you have some exposure in each of those areas.

What you really need to do in addition to adding content and optimizing your site, is also focus on getting something in the other Verticals.

So, get some video out there. Get a Blog (remember FTR provided a goldmine of info in the Authority Black Book on Blogging). Get some press releases out there so you are in the News vertical. Make sure your images are optimized.

Maybe you don’t have time to do it all right, but start somewhere and get something done. Universal Search is happening – with or without you.

So, make sure you are prepared. And now you’ll have to excuse me while I go make sure my earthquake kit is ready!

For more SEO tips, visit EcomBuffet.com!

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Jack Humphrey

I've been free and thriving as a "digital nomad" for 20 years. And I've helped tens of thousands of people along the way to build and grow businesses that enable them to cut their own trail in life outside the conventional birth-school-work-grave life cycle so many are unfortunate to have to endure. If you meet me soon enough, your cycle could be birth-school-freedom. But it's never too late to break the cycle, either! If you are ready to take your business higher while increasing the time you have for living your biggest life, I just might be able to help you out.