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Bye, Bye Organic Website Listings

Category : search engine marketing, strategy

12

Greetings from San Jose! The Search Engine Strategies conference is off to a great start with a positive vibe and great content. I’m hoping to share a little current search marketing information from each session I attend.

Universal and Blended Search

If you’re not familiar with the terms Universal and Blended Search, it might be time to educate yourself. A shift is happening on the Search Engine Results Page (SERP) that might drastically affect those nice website rankings you’ve been enjoying.

Maybe you’ve noticed that the first page of results from searches you run on Google, Yahoo, Ask, etc. are starting to contain organized results from blogs, news/PR, images, video, maps and ratings websites. What that means to you is that there is less real estate for standard website results we’ve been used to for years.

Is this a good thing? For the user, I think it definitely it is. Universal and blended search results now offer a wider variety of options from which searchers can choose. On Yahoo, for instance, you now will have the opportunity to watch an actual video right from the SERP without ever leaving the SERP.

But…..I also learned today that early results are showing that 30% less people are navigating to the second page of results on a given search. This means there are so many more engaging options on that first page that searchers are finding it less necessary to go to page two.

So, what happens if your once high-ranking web pages now fall farther down on the list due to video, image, blog etc. results? Well, it might be time to change with the times. Google’s David Bailey suggests:

  • Registering your business with Local search to take advantage of geographical targeting
  • Create useful, popular video content
  • Submit product feeds to Froogle.

Other advice I took away from the session include:

  • Optimizing press releases for search engines
  • Including images on press releases to take advantage of image results in search
  • Optimizing images on website for better searchability
  • Utilize social media such as blog and video to promote your company.

Overall, I don’t think any of the information from the session was monumental, but it did show a sign of the times. The focus continues to be on user experience and us marketers need to make sure we’re staying on top of what the user wants.

Isn’t that the goal of marketing anyway?


Comments (12)

Good stuff, Patrick. Thanks for sharing. I was honestly unaware of the push toward blended search. But like you said, it’s all about providing for the buyer rather than the seller. And it’s just another reason to get more involved in diverse forms of social media, etc. Enjoy the conference :)

Hey Ryan,
You said it perfectly – it’s another reason to get involved with social media. We can’t blame the search engines for doing this. They’re giving the user what they want to see. Now, the marketers have to adapt.

Thanks for contributing, Ryan!

Pat

Patrick,

Thank you for sharing and keeping us up to date on this important information. We need to be aware of these things for business sakes.

Lewis,
No problem! Search marketing is evolving by the day – a very exciting industry. But, challenging for marketers to stay on top of all the trends.

If you learn more about how to optimize images better, I’d love to hear about it, Patrick. Right now, I only really know about alt-tags. I’m sure there must be more that can be done, though.

Adam,
Will do! I was out with some people last evening that were talking about marketing images on Flickr. I’m going to try to find some information on that.

Patrick,

I’m not sure I agree with the new “blended” direction. I’ve always felt that those that started using Google in the early days did so because it was the only no nonsense search engine.

Although I like where Google is going from a marketing standpoint, I don’t necessarily agree that it’s the greatest option from a user’s perspective. It’s probably still too soon to tell; I seldom believe buzz from search engine insiders until I see for myself… adCenter traffic estimates …

Garry

Hey Garry,
It might not be too soon to tell. If you search on “iPhone” right now on Google you’ll see a combination of organic results, news, and video from YouTube in the results.

I actually think this makes it tougher on marketers. Now we have more bases to cover to get that free traffic from searchers. We have to consider our websites, images, news, video, etc. The user is getting a more dynamic experience.

Ask.com released Ask3D this week as well. They’ve gone 100% in this direction. Basically, every search turns into it’s own “portal” type atmosphere. Check it out – I’d be curious to know what you think.

Pat

Pat,

You’ve got a point. I guess what I’m trying to say is, marketers in the know will definitely be able to compete on several levels, which is good – getting in the know is a barrier to entry, which is good and bad.

It’s not like you can just set your SEO and PPC efforts to cruise control, but then again, there may be ROI and ROAS (return on ad spend) to be had in the “blended” arena. However, without testing and measuring those tactics, you can’t know for sure.

Granted, on the SEO front you want to make sure you have every possible placement opportunity covered to take advantage of organic, local, video, and shopping results. However, on the PPC side it’s a bit different. Let’s face it, it’s just a matter of time before the big three adopt PPC for blended results.

I’m very curious about your image post…

Garry

Garry,
You’re right on – check out Ask.com and their new 3D model. At first glance, I didn’t see the separation between the organic and sponsored listings. They’re really blending in the paid results.

I put the image post up this morning….

-Pat

Search engine marketing has evolved since 1995 and right now with so much new features built into SERPs, i would be a harder job for SEO consultants.

Hi Patrick, almost a year ago you wrote this article. It turns out that your ideas were right! When will you write about the next step in Universal and Blended Search?
In our work as volunteers for an open and free internet knowledge database in the Netherlands, (www.Leerwiki.nl), we don’t have budget for expensive marketing. So all tips about how to do smart marketing are most welcome!
Regards, Ann Mary