A Scenic Tour of the Online World

How Universal Search Changes SEO

Friday, February 25th, 2011

The new universal search results, which include images, video, shopping, and social elements, is a fundamental change that offers greater opportunities for SEO success, but requires more work …Universal search is undeniably an improvement for the end users doing the searching, it’s more of a mixed bag for site owners and content publishers. Here’s why.

Particularly interesting is that being logged in to Google (to use the 400 lb. gorilla as an example), search results will likely contain more info from your network and fewer paid ad results than the same search performed while not logged in.

(If you’re going to try to replicate that experiment at home, do the two searches back to back – the new universal search is much more fluid than in the past, particularly in its social aspects, so results can change quickly.)

For site owners, this presents the challenge of having to have a more, well, universal approach to optimization. Efforts must be multi-faceted and include more than just on-page optimization.

That’s been true for a long time – in-bound links have been a key component of optimization for quite a wile already. But now there’s even more “reputation real estate” to plant your flag in.

You have to be active in a number of arenas, map out separate strategies for video, for images, for web content. And you have to devote more attention to creating relationships with well-connected colleagues who wield influence in your community. Tweets, posts, and links from the network will power results.

And be sure to tie your efforts to the localized search features that are expanding. As smartphones become more popular as ecommerce tools, geo-aware localized search will grow in importance.

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