Universal Search is the biggest thing to happen to search since the Florida update and when Google rolled out Universal Search is rewrote the rules on search marketing and SEO. Greg Jarboe says that the changes brought abot in Universal Search were the most radical change to search; ever.
Jarboe uses examples of Google searches in a timeline fashion, showing the results for iPhone as provided by Google News in the normal Google search results. Jarboe then shows how a YouTube hosted video by Apple also appears in the results. The next step was the integration of images in Google results, then movie times and news results embedded in Google results and then Google Blog Search results are also integrated into the Universal Search results.
Suddenly Image, Blog Search, News, Local, Finance and Video Search results are all being served on the Google Universal results ‘front page’. Another example is a search for Hurricane Dean on Google with News & Blog results… but what about when people start taking photos of Hurricane Dean’s aftermath and uploading video footage to YouTube.
Google Universal Search still gives preferential treatment to Google News Search results, further solidifying the importance of News Search optimization. Jarboe says to go to NewsKnife, a site which tracks the media outlets which appear on the frontpage of Google News the most. Such tracking changes the improtance of which news organizations to pitch stories to. In addition, photos in news stories become more important as Google News shows images next to news results. Jarboe says Video integration will be next.
Sherwood Stranieri of Catalyst Online now discusses what Universal Search means, the integration of video and multimedia into traditional search results. Google has cut a new path by blending in all of the results together and Sherwood looks at how videos are ranked such as the mix of phrases, views, comments and other social sharing information influencing the rankings of video, not traditional ranking criteria such as PageRank and inbound links.
Bill Slawski of Commerce360 & SEObytheSEA then discussed the patents behind Universal Search, but not just that of Google but also Yahoo, Ask.com and MSN versions of the integrated search discipline. Seems that Google has been working on Universal Search for 4 years and filed for their Uniiversal Search patent in 2003. That patent however, was not an integrated version of Universal which is offered now. Bill also discussed the destination page and importance of key factors such as address and definitions which can build traffic to a site via Universal Search.
David Bailey of Google then discussed the offerings brought to users via Google Universal Search including videos, local search and other methods which benefit the user experience. Google feels the top results should be the bext experience for the user and wants webmasters to create the type of content which Google is serving in order to gain exposure on Universal Search.
Tim Mayer of Yahoo discusses what Yahoo is currently doing with its Yahoo Shortcuts and their goal of satisfying user intent, blending in Yahoo Channel information, audio, video, user ratings and other critical information which helps the end user find the information which they are looking for. Erik Collier of Ask.com rounded out the session with an overview of Ask.com and what they’re doing to integrate multiple media into search results. His tip on getting videos to the top of Google, Yahoo and Ask.com results; “create a kick-ass video.” Great advice Erik!