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Universal & Blended Search

This year, I, Angela, started the conference off with a lil “Universal & Blended Search.”

For marketers, universal search I the opportunity for users to see more of you on a web page or in the SERPS.

What does this mean? What does this do for your business?

It means you can dominate that first page with hard work and creativity!

First up… Google rep, Johanna Wright.

What is it all about? – We’ve all seen it. We misspell something and Google asks us “Did you mean ?

Well, universal and blended search isn’t all that much different. A search engines ultimate goal is always to serve you the best content most relative to what your intentions were. Often times, we can know a persons intention depending on what they were looking for. If someone is searching for “300 trailer” its probably safe to assume, they want movie or video listings, not your web page.

Google, essentially assumes the following of a user…”Here’s what I said. Now show me what I want.”

Google has been offering Vertical Search for years. You know, those links in the top left corner. The ones you steal images from or click on to find a blog to spam. J/K. Well what search engines have come to find is that users expect Google to categorize things, not have us select what we want!

Examples of Universal Search Components:

  • Local Biz/Maps
  • Video
  • Images
  • Blogs
  • News
  • Books

Each search will produce a number of each or none of these. Search engines themselves have done testing and tuning to only display the most relevant pieces of this data. It may be video and news for the Olympics and local map and news for the restaurant you are looking up for dinner. A search like “Mexico City” will bring you a lot of diversity though!

So HOW DOES IT WORK you ask?

  • Essentially a search engine (SE) pulls all the data available and then makes a decision. It looks at a number of things including?:
  • Page rank
  • Keyword phrase matching
  • Anchors
  • Date of Freshness of the news
  • User Generated Content
  • Table of Contents

With relevance and verticals, SEs can help a user explore!


Mostly, UIs (user interfaces) will still mostly be compiled of web pages. But it does mean more options for users and marketers a like though!


  • Publish high quality images
  • Create video and video sitemaps
  • Submit to site search shopping
  • Submit your site to local sites like Google Maps
  • Blog, blog, blog!

Next up…. Chris Pierry with Yahoo!

What exactly can be found in the Yahoo! results???!!!

  • You often times find a module with rich media within it. This module takes up nearly 3 times the space of a standard “blue link” or organic title and description listing. Within it you can find Yahoo posting video, headlines, etc.
  • Deep links – Those are the links you see underneath a title and description listing that include additional pages within a site with their “mini title.” Go Google “Cal Coast Web Design”. See the “FAQ’s”,” “Links,” “About Us” and “Services” blue links. That’s what we’re talking about here!
  • News – but remember your USERS WANT TODAY’S NEWS so Google wants today’s news or HOT news. You must keep your content fresh. Continue to submit articles, press releases, RSS, blog posts and more. Google wants freshness in their results.
  • Photos – Images can be found both at the top taking up much of the valuable real estate, but also blended in with traditional organic blue links.
  • Videos – blending in on pages as well. You can even watch without a click. Yes, search engines do monitor the hover. There is value in how long they watch that clip! Stop worrying about your silly click! Think about your user. Search engines DO or WILL recognize your efforts to improve a users experience!
  • Modules -news modules like Wikipedia “Expando” have other content within them for users to interact with. With just a click a user can get more information like reviews and such!
    ***Kudos to the bad to the bone bloggers over at SEO Roundtable for their Universal Search post. I just made a quick note about “expando.” A quick Google search and band-a-bing. Snaps.


  • It boosts the comprehensiveness and relevance of a searchers results.
  • It also provides the opportunity for a user to control content .
  • Kudos to Search Monkey. Everyone go control your own Yahoo!. Click to set up your Yahoo search platform. This open search engine page is built to allow owners to differentiate search results.


  • Boost traffic & quality
  • Greater access
  • More control
  • Users can go from “todo” to “done” faster

Next up….. Todd Schwarts of Live Search

To start, a quick plug….LOL… – Add your videos, add your goods.

And… Eric Collier of Ask…

Every year I want to switch to Ask when I come here. I love it more and more.

Quick Update: Be sure to check out Asks new TV vertical search results. Go ahead, go to Ask and type in “Whats on TV tonight?” Look at those beautiful search results. I’m in love.

Not only does Ask provide standard music, video, blogs and organic listings its universal search, but allow their very own smart answers and editorially created content.


  • Well, for News and Blog listings, they count subscriber numbers, time on site, freshness, “buzz-worthy-ness” and other analytic data.
  • For your traditional blue links, its still the click and time on site.
  • For images and video, a click in not required and hover is monitored.
  • User activity is closely monitored!
  • Frequency & retention of user visits.
  • Surveys can pop up from time to time. That’s the engine wanting more info to improve your search.


The death of the blue link.
NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOooooooooooooooooooooooooo ;(

Unique rich information in addition to our standard blue link. That means less room above the scroll for some and smaller resolutions for the rest of us!

Next up…. Shashi Seth with Cool Iris

I must say first that I was so excited to run out and try Cool Iris.

This social search is essentially a “wall” of content blended together so that you can scroll through your results quickly, actually REALLY fast! Ho many times do you click the “next” button before you just start a new search?

What cool result do you find on Cool Iris???