Humbled SEO Warriors: Search is Universal. Blended Verticals Tower.

signAs a result of Universal & Blended Vertical Search it’s not just about web pages anymore. Google’s Universal Search aggregates local, news, video, book content, blog search, and a number of other verticals from content “repositories” and displays them in various positions on SERPs. This is especially true for some commercial keywords and can include top results. Google Universal Search Changes Everything.

Not Your Mother’s SERP
It’s a a brave new world and we can expect to see less and less website results on page one. The good news is that the evolution of search always presents opportunities of great proportions for those who research and understand proper methods to get content into the SERPs of the day. Also, classic SEO values remain inalienable and the best content rises to the top. The major difference now is in the quantity and segmentation of focused channels.

3D from integrates vertical results for, what many consider, a seamless search experience. Microsoft and Yahoo integrate vertical search for basic SERPs. Google calls it Universal search. This important shift signals changes of significant proportion and marketers must adapt.

Classic SES Presentation
The Moderator of this session was Chris Sherman. Everything associated with Danny Sullivan and Chris Sherman feels a bit nostalgic here in San Jose, this being the last SES event they’re sequencing. The premise of the session was that users still flock in astounding numbers to find information from search engines and their niche specific verticals. Since the engines have gone universal/vertical a reverence of how content is indexed across “repositories” of content segmented into products like Google News, YouTube, Yahoo Travel, Flickr, and Blogs is essential.

Ses San Jose 2007
Searcher Track | Universal & Blended Vertical Search
Moderator : Chris Sherman, Co-Chair, SES San Jose

Greg Jarboe, President and Co-Founder, SEO-PR
Greg stressed this is the most important change in search history. A major percentage of what SEMs used to know just became obsolete when Google rolled out he most radical change to its search results ever earlier this year! Even based on early analysis there has already been a profound impact.

Every Body Bail!”
Greg quipped that there is a “crises” coming and you’ve now been “warned.” Tagged are screaming into search results making it essential that marketers utilized picture optimization tactics. Blog results are splashed prominently and shocked PR department types may not be handling associated Internet investor relations nightmares at all. Photos can be unflattering. There are hundreds of categories, dozens of major engine verticals (niche’ specific search engines) and Greg secretly believes that there is a picture-tagging smear campaign being waged against Hillary Clinton to make her look nasty.

Sherwood Stranieri, Search Marketing Director, Catalyst online spoke of Universal Search as a huge trend which has dramatically impacted SEM thinking. After discussing the basics he spoke about Yahoo, MSN, and Ask’s idiosyncratic compartmentalization of vertical products in the SERPs.

This is huge challenge for marketers because the search cheese has moved in ways never really experienced in the past. Google is the gigantic game-changer again. If you’re lucky enough you have digital assets in an area like video, recurrent content, graphics, blogs, news, and other worthy universal spider bait…great. He noted that many companies are naturally rich in certain digital assets.

Sherwood’s Studied Video in SERPS
His analysis as to the effect of proper video tagging, page SEO, page rank, comments, and video popularity reveals that all of these factors matter to Google results. Google Zeitgeist as been replaced by Google Hot Trends, a set of 100 daily hop topics computed automatically. Google is likely custom tuning it’s indexing process for each and every portal. Bottom line: Google Universal Search is in flux and always will be. It’s the nature of search.

Bill Slawski Director of Search Marketing, Commerce360 presented next. I’ve read SEO by the Sea for over 6 months and can recommend the feed. Bill addressed the question of how business can get into Universal Search Results. Like the other speakers he provided a number of screen captures reflecting the evolution of MSN, Yahoo, and Ask 3D channel integration in search results over time. He noted that blended results can include images, blogs, products, ads, timelines, definitions, Q&A, local search travel booking, business locations, and a growing number of other categories

Fractions of Queries
Ranking in vertical databases are dependent on many on page language factors, technical variables, and like organic search has always been subject to parameters which are both known (Google tells us) or are black box secret stuff. In the olden days (like…last year) Web Position Gold (Which is truly dead) was the way to measure. Now it takes serious research. What appears on SERPS are triggered by the way a query is phrased and/or search operators used. For instance starting the phrase “What Is” is more likely to trigger a question and answer type response.

David Bailey, Engineer, Google
Universal Search is an extension of Google’s original mission, a single search box where users can rely on the results. People have busy lives and there’s not always be time to bookmark sites or longer research processes and Google excels at single search result quality

Google got where it is by providing users the best results which remains the primary focus-fast, simple usage, and with an interface people understand Algorithms now dig deeper for relevant results through “repositories” of content with the end goal being smarter ranking. David telegraphed (without going into specifics) that popularity is in fact dialed into the black box.

Tim Mayer, Vice President of Product Management, Yahoo! Search
Tim began by theorizing that it’s hard to differentiate one search engine from the other absent the branding. Yahoo’s goal is to move towards a better optimized user experience through integration of verticals, shortcuts, and inline shortcuts which blend expanding menus of verticals within one search result.Moving forward it’s about understanding the intent of the user and what content will be stimulating to that audience.

Erik Collier, Director of Product Management,
Ask3D SERP designs are different than conventional search starting with the fixed left bar (fixed-remains static even as you scroll) and the Smart Answers. The default SERP is a more portal based approach with elements like weather and news in content block format.They claim large jumps in user satisfaction which they’ve measure in both site analytics and surveys. Ask’s data notes an increase in vertical channel activity and conversion from first-page results. They incorporate AskX Eye Tracking to identify hot zones on the page.

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