Google Universal Search – An Expanding Universe

What Universal Search means to your search engine ranking on Google.

What is Google universal search, and how will it impact your company’s search engine optimization efforts?

Universal search is the seamless integration of results from Google’s various vertical search engines (news, video, images, local and book) into the organic Web SERPs (search engine result pages).

Google has been incorporating results from its vertical search engines into its main Web results for a while now. Earlier, however, the results from, say, news search were clearly differentiated and published at the top of the organic results. Where Universal Search differs is that these results are now seamlessly integrated into the Web results based on their importance to a user’s query.

For instance, check the results for Apple iPod, and notice how results from news and videos are a seamless part of the web search results.

In a search for John McCain, the US presidential candidate, see how blog posts about John McCain are part of the Web results.

What does all of this mean to your search engine optimization efforts?

The first impact is that your web pages now have a lot more competition – not just from other web pages, but from videos, images, news articles, blog posts, books etc.

So you have to try that much harder to gain traction on Google. A plain vanilla, pure Web site optimization campaign may not be enough going forward. You will have to think seriously about making your presence on vertical searches as well.

That means building more diverse content, including
• Press releases and articles (for mainstream media) that could make the cut on news search engines
• Videos that you can aggressively promote on YouTube and other multimedia sharing platforms
• Building a compelling presence in the blogosphere by communicating with and through blogs
• Optimizing your images with relevant metadata (a good idea may be to opt-in to Google’s enhanced image search)
• Making use of the Google Local Business Center to build a presence on local search

Google is also increasingly incorporating results from social media, such as Facebook, MySpace and Twitter. It may be a good idea to create a profile for your company on these networks.