Saturday, January 17, 2009

Are you ready to go Universal?

Did I get your attention? Well I hope I did because if you don't know what universal search is then you might be left in 2008 as far as search engine page rank is concerned.

I came across a great informational article and here's what I got from it about Universal Search. It's long but worth the read.

What exactly is Universal Search and What does it have to do with you.

This blog topic will explain what Universal Search is and ways you can benefit from implementing these tactics into your SEO plans for 2009.

There are some sites that are already using these tactics and they will benefit from them and their are tons of website who don't even know about these changes and these new tactics will ultimately end up working against you.

Universal Search in a nutshell is the combination of all Google's search engine databases into one index that will serve a single set of search engine result pages.

Examples of some of these databases are: Google Images, Google News, Google Blogger and Google Video.

So when you go to Google and do a search for whatever you are searching for that day. You usually get a list of links that may be relevant to your search. Well instead of just getting those links, what you will get is a list of everything combined together; Blogs, Images, News, and Videos.

Pretty Cool Huh!?

Maybe Not....

So right know we all know that you would have to search each of those databases in order to get the information you are looking for. What Google is planning to do is to integrate everything into one BIG search engine.

On one hand as a searcher what this means is easier access to everything you would look for in Google News, Images and Videos would be available in one search. On the other hand as a business owner looking to get more targeted traffic, this could either be a good thing or a bad thing.

This seams like a cool idea as long as it doesn't get too complicated. As long as their layout is not too confusing then I think this is a really great idea.

So I guess you are wondering what this has to do with your online business?

Well these changes can work against you if you don't take action now and start getting your site optimized and keep up with the jones so to speak.

What should you do to make sure you aren't left in 2008:

  • Organic Results : If you site isn't already optimized for organic or natural search engine results (listings that you do not have to pay for by Pay Per Click ads), this would be the place to start. Without this type of SEO you have no chance of competing in the search engines with or without Universal Search.
  • Since Universal Search will be taking information from databases like press releases, blogs, images, etc.. It would be wise to start using one of these resources to get exposure for your site.
  • Google Image Search: It's a great idea to have images on your site that convey a message, sale or promote a product. Now Google has it to where customers can find your site via a Google Image Search. Make sure you optimize your images with descriptive, keyword-rich file names and use ALT tags in each image. This will be useful to those who can only search text formats.
  • Google Video: Use good, keyword file names for your video files. Create a good keyword title tag, description tag, and video site map.

  • Google News: Submit your press releases for display as news. You can also make a new content page on your site and display your press release on your site as well.
  • Google Blog Search : Use Social Media sites and Blog Submission sites to drive traffic to your website. Make sure to submit your blog to Google Blog search and your blog can help you with Universal Search as well.

So when someone does a search for a product or service that you have to offer using the Universal Search Results and your website comes up. Within the same search your competitors site comes up under videos, images, news and blogs. That searcher is more likely to click on your competitors site since they have more results that come up for the keyword phrase being searched for instead of your site.

Without knowing exactly how Google will layout the results. Just know that you will be competing for the top listing. The top position could be videos, blogs, images, or news and if you are missing one of those listings then you will miss out on a potential customer.

So in summary you want to make sure you optimize your site to have most if not all of databases listed above.

Make sure you don't wait until it's too late to start optimizing your site! If you don't do it, your competition will. :)


  1. Great post-
    I have to do some work on my site
    thank you for the information

  2. Yes Karen,

    Definitely get started on your site if you haven't done so already. Now is the time. The changes haven't been entirely implemented yet but they will be this year.

    Let me know if you need any help :)


  3. I'm already seeing many hits to the alt tags on my images through Google search! I think these changes are great and we'll keep plugging away to get our SEO all tied in.


  4. I agree Lisa. I welcome the changes. I really don't care for the video part but all others are definitely something that I feel needs to be focused on in order to be a success as far as ranking is concerned.

  5. carla,

    good thoughts here on image optimization. many companies/website owners overlook the power of images for their SEO efforts.