Training

SEO 101 – Universal Search

Universal Search
Confused by the mumbo-jumbo of Universal Search? Here are some tips to help you with your optimization efforts.

Time was when you’d search for different things in Google through different verticals (those links at the top left of the Google home page) – web pages, images, videos, news, maps, etc. In the search giant’s infinite, uh, wisdom, that was not good. Google decided that bunching everything together in one big pile of results was what we all wanted (I don’t remember being asked if that was what I wanted, but that’s what we’re getting). I’m sure you’ve seen the results for a search that include images, news and so forth in addition to the standard HTML pages. For example, a search today for “Frank Sinatra” in Google brings up the results below with an image, news, lyrics, etc.

Results for search for Frank Sinatra in Google

Naturally, the other search engines have jumped on the bandwagon as well, so optimizing for what Google refers to as Universal Search takes on a few twists of its own. Here are a few pointers.

1. Optimize press releases – Good, solid press releases about real news have been used as reliable tools in many an SEO toolkit for quite a while. Now it is even more important that the release be optimized and include at least one image, which is also optimized. This gives you optimized text as well as images that can potentially show up in the search results. See more about image optimization in S E O 101 – Image Optimization.

2. Use top Google News sites – Use sites like NewsKnife and Google News Reports to find the top news sources for Google News and try to get your news and news images into them. By studying these sites, you might get tips on what works and what doesn’t to get your news and images out there.

3. Popularize video content – The popularity of a video appears to have influence on rankings. Post your videos on large video sites as well as on your own site. Views, comments, optimized meta tags and so forth can give a rankings boost.

4. Bloggers – Cater to influential bloggers who might link to you, your images, videos, podcasts, etc. or ask to reprint your content. Get the picture?

5. Get your organization on board – This can be the hardest part. Convincing your co-workers of the importance of keyword-rich file names for images, videos, podcasts, etc. can be daunting. If they are used to file names like 1jigot45.jpg, it’s a must, however. Getting them to share images with links back to you through sites like Flickr and corresponding sites for videos, etc. should also be on your list of things to do.

6. Make bookmarking easy – Provide an easy way to bookmark your site, especially for Google. It has been reported that the number of bookmarks to a site can have an influence on results in Universal Search. Put a Bookmark this at Google link on your pages.

7. Enhance your maps.google.com listings – In addition to filling the listing at Local Business Center with relevant, keyword rich text content, upload photos with optimized file names.

8. Use Google Product Search – Uploading your products to this free service (aka Google Base) gives the potential of those products showing up in the Google One Box results. For instance, in the search below for “Persol 2219-S sunglasses” the products at the very top under “Product search results…” (the “One Box”) come right out of Google Base.

Persol 2219-S sunglasses search results

9. Localize – User location takes a much bigger role in Universal Search. Make sure your site is optimized for your city, town, neighborhood, state or whatever geographic location you are targeting.

10. Reputation management – Pay attention to the reputation of blogs, videos, audio, etc. that you use or connect to on your site. You don’t want bad vibes from one of them rubbing off on you. Cleaning up reputation problems is difficult as it is, but getting caught in someone else’s garbage can even more difficult to clear up. Screen carefully.

This article is intended as a companion piece to S E O 101 and will be updated periodically.

See the entire S E O 101 series.

I go into more detail in my S E O 101 workshop, offered to web site owners and small businesses. Check this blog for more information or contact me to set up a custom workshop for your business group of five or more people in the Palm Springs area of Southern California. Travel is possible for large groups.

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3 thoughts on “SEO 101 – Universal Search

  1. Pingback: Is Google Planning to Dominate Its Own Search Results?

  2. Pingback: Importance of Diversity in SEO

  3. Pingback: SEO Today: Adapting and Evolving

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