SEO for Google Universal Search

Earlier this month, Google unveiled a new “Universal Search” system, a radical change to its search results pages that will surface listings from its news, video, images, local and book verticals with much greater frequency. This article considers how the webmaster should respond to this innovation, considering both traditional “asset optimisation” and specific strategies for Universal Search.

What is Google Universal Search?

So-called “Universal Search” is a system which will expose, much more often, Google images, video, news, local and book searches alongside regular search results Buy Google Reviews . These so-called “search verticals” have thus assumed a much greater share of SEM attention in recent times and, with this, the theme of asset optimisaton. Universal results appear either through the (familiar) OneBox links at the top of the SERPs or through inclusion in the regular results themselves.

Universal Search is, in fact, nothing new. Anyone who has used the A9.com search engine (from Amazon) will be familiar with search engines that display results from different verticals alongside each other. Recently, Ask.com have also rolled out their Ask3D concept, which similarly (and perhaps more elegantly than Google) displays results, as they put it, “across the three dimensions of search: Expression, Results and Content”. Ask, indeed, provides a good idea of where Google may go in the future: ask.com.

Whilst Ask is a certain winner for presentation, it only has a tiny share of the search engine market. However, when Google (as market leader) begin to roll out something, people tend to take much more notice. Indeed, the increased maturity of the web probably means that the time for Universal Search has indeed come. We will watch these developments with interest. However, suffice to say, successful SEO in the future needs to take account of the placement of assets (particularly video) throughout the Google verticals.

Optimising Asset Metadata: Office Files

In future, when people search on Google, they will get an ever wider range of results, including more links to videos, images, news, maps and books. Let’s start, however, with a challenge that has always been there – and has often been given insufficient attention by the average webmaster; the optimization of Word Documents, Excel Workbooks, Powerpoint Presentations and Adobe PDF files.

Try typing a Google Search on Tony Blair filetype:ppt and look at the results. You will probably notice that, whilst some of the result links make reasonable sense, many others are in the nature of “slide 1” or “Lecture 29”. This is because Google uses the title field from the properties meta-data. The description field is drawn from the body of the document. The same principle works for Excel files, Presentations and PDFs.

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