Universal and Personal Search- This Changes Everything

Nov 11, 2008 - 5:27 pm 0 by
Filed Under PubCon 2008

Moderator: Jake Baillie

Speakers: Brian Combs, Senior VP & Chief Futurist, Apogee Search Greg Boser, President, WebGuerrilla LLC Amanda Watlington, Ph.D., APR

Description: We have had over a year now with the changes to the stock SERP, and it is clear that the 10 little blue link SERP isn't what it used to be. Today's SERP is more complex than ever. This session will examine today's SERP with its images, videos, stock quotes, weather and other entities, and explore how this can radically change SEO.

Session Notes:

Up first is Brian Combs... Blasting throught the first few slides in order to get to the meat of the presentation.

Google says universal search is the largest revision they have made in the last few years. Brians feels this was done to increase their inventory. Users are roughly twice as likely to click on a vertical/blended search.

Blended search is clearly a game changer. Not much competition on MSN or Yahoo. Google is displaying video and image results.

Blended search seems to be more appealing to the eye. The opportunity is there for website owners to capture more search real estate.

Some Best Practices: - it is more complicated - use your current digital inventory or create some new - define the search landscape for your category - start with your images, optimize them - local should next area to target - create and manage blog - keep your messaging consistent across all your media

Next up is Amanda Watlington... She started in 1995 and feels universal search it truly changing everything. Today it is all about marketing and IT.

The SEO must be the conductor, not the soloist. Video, images, maps go beyond the scope of most SEOs. Find people within the company that are knowledgable in these areas. Even items like news need to be included. Is there a PRF firm? With images, who owns them? Who will let you have access to them?

Submissions and rankings are long gone. Rankings have lost their meaning. Shopping results often appear in the first position now. Reviews are starting to appear in the results. News is also appearing high in results - even if on temporary basis.

In a recent survey more that 50% of searchers (out of 87 million) saw universal search results. Pictures draw you in and are often clicked on.

YouTube now exceeds the number of searches that Yahoo! gets. Need to consider sites like eBay, YouTube, Flikr, etc.

We must set new priorities and forge new relationships in order to maximize universal search results.

Inventory digital assets: Begin by assessing the site itself. Evaluate current optimization: CMS, meta, images, pdf's, and other elements. Identify gaps: look for low hanging fruit: products that have best ROI?, local search?, research PDFs? Then decide what makes the most sense to add. Build a plan of attack: create best practice documents to assist others not involved in process, develop templates, train support staff, set new KPI for new types of optimization like YouTube or news releases.

Build a plan that is appropriate for the business not for the search engines. Plan proof of concept indicators. Create baseline data to ascertain your current level of performance and then measure the results.

The rules have changed but the expectations have not!

Greg Boser is up next and does not use a PowerPoint presentation. Speaking from the panel he says...

He is not sold on the universal search yet. He feels the core of your focus today should still be organic search results. He feels too many companies are chasing the buzz and not the reality.

Not convinced the ROI is there yet. His strategy is to use the existance of universal search to help shape the planning of your SEO and marketing.

Local search is critical. It is something all of us can manage if you have a physical listing & location. However it is very difficult to compete against local search if you do not have a listing in the local results at the top of the page. It may be better to try other terms.

Get your organic search in order before attacking universal search as you can get lost and overwhelmed in all that could be done.

For bloggers, he warns against using Flikr to host images. He recommends that you take the time to download the images, give credit, tag them and host them on your own blog.

These session notes were written by Arnie Kuenn from Vertical Measures a link building services and website publicity company. Please excuse any typos or grammar issues, the session notes are written live and meant to be posted as soon as the session is over.


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