It amazes me how many online optimizers ignore Universal Search. I’ve come across site owners who ask, “Hey, we are a flower retailer, how do we rank in the top 10?” And I’m like, “Jeez, you’re not even on Google Places”.
Years ago, whether you owned a hotel, a newspaper or an insurance company, the way you optimized your site for Google was more or less the same. Remember the good old SERPs with a homogeneous mass of search results?
Nowadays, times have changed. Today, the search results contain paid listings, specialized search results (Images, Videos, etc.), and what not. There is now more distraction for the searcher, and potential visitors may simply ignore your insignificant “normal” result and click on a flashy Shopping snippet or something similar.
So, it’s a gigantic failure for many businesses NOT to think seriously of, say, Google Places or Google Videos. And here is why:
- Up to 70% of Google’s search results include video snippets
- Over 30 % of search listings contain Images results
- According to Google, 20% of all searches are local, with that number being 40% for mobile
- Shopping listings are found in 18% of search results
- News snippets are present in up to 10% of all Google’s search results, etc.
Besides, an ever increasing number of users search specifically within certain categories like Places or Images, because the searchers are becoming more and more aware of those.
And, not only can Universal Search bring additional traffic to your site, but also help you break through tough competition in situations when it’s hard to outrank them in “normal” search results pages.
The United States of Search
It’s also important to understand that each Universal Search category is like a separate country with its own laws. So, if you use press releases to promote your product, this does not mean that your site will automatically show up on Google News or Google Products.
In many cases, submitting your URL or product feed to Google is required for your site to appear in those categories. Here is a brief chart of each Universal Search section’s specifics and the main SEO tactics that can be used to rank higher in them.
We did not include Google Maps, because, from an online business perspective, it is basically the same as Google Places. Neither did we include Google Flights nor Google Patents, since both these sections hardly ever make it to Google’s mixed results and are, in fact, highly specialized.
Who should optimize for Universal Search?
It’s incorrect to assume that only photographers should optimize for Google Images or only bloggers should optimize for Google Blogs. Universal Search can be a huge traffic booster for a whole variety of businesses.
As it is virtually impossible to provide recommendation for every single niche within this article, I will just outline the general strategy.
Take a minute to see what types of results appear in Everything for your target keywords. Make sure your business is also indexed in those categories (say, Google News). This would be your first step towards tapping into additional traffic sources.
Invest some effort to improve your site/listing’s positions in those particular segments of search. In many cases, this will require the actions that are not part of your usual day-to-day SEO activities (for example, getting a review from Zagat.Com).
Depending on your niche, think of the search sections that users may turn to to find information related to your business. For example, here is a video by Harbor Financial which ranks #1 in Google Videos for “how to file tax return”. However, what this vid essentially advertises is the TurboTax app. It’s that simple.
Leveraging different segments of Universal Search can help you drive floods of additional traffic to your site. En masse (if you tap into more than one type of search), that can become a significant portion of your overall traffic.
Aleh Barysevich is Marketing Director and Co-Founder of Link-Assistant.Com, a major SEO software provider and the maker of SEO PowerSuite tools. Link-Assistant.Com is a group of SEO professionals with almost a decade of experience in Internet marketing.
THE VIEWS AND OPINIONS EXPRESSED HERE ARE NOT NECESSARILY THOSE OF MARKETING PILGRIM.