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Google first announced a new kind of search – universal, or blended, search – back in 2007.  What this means is that, in addition to text-based results (web pages), they started searching (and ranking) loads of different kinds of results such as video, images, and news, just to name a few. Late in 2009 Google added “real time search” to this, integrating updates from Twitter and social media sites into search results. So, now, when you type in “Elephant Creative Solutions” you should not only get a link to our website but also Twitter, LinkedIn and any other relevant results – whatever the medium.

If you want to improve your online presence you need to know about this and consider making a few changes…

1) New priorities

Before universal search, SEO (search engine optimization) was all about creating “remarkable” content that people would link to and that would be optimized for certain keywords (ie. Would be set up to pull out certain key words that you felt were important). If you did all this then you expected to see your web pages in the top 10 search rankings. Since universal search there is even more competition for those top ten spots.  In fact, Google tries to reserve a certain number of those top spots specifically for non-text-based media (ie. Video, images etc). This means that there are more websites competing for fewer places in that top 10.

There are new opportunities to get on that first page of search results, and businesses need to create multimedia content to take advantage of this. That means posting videos to YouTube, photos to Flickr, using Social Media and tagging this multimedia content as thoroughly as possible.

2) More Emphasis on Top Search Results

With these new, visually appealing, search results part way down the first page of search results, there is now a visual barrier that focuses users’ eyes even more on the top of the search results page. We already know from eye tracking heat map analysis that users focus on the “golden triangle” (planted in the top left hand corner of the screen) and few people scroll to the bottom of the page or go on to the second or third page.

This new way of searching will only make this worse… So you’d better make sure that your website gets into that “golden triangle”.

3) How Do You Convert Viewers of Multimedia?

Creating content is the very best way to attract more prospects to learn about and engage with your brand.  Using social media sites like Twitter, YouTube, or Flickr helps this process. But how are you supposed to turn YouTube video views into leads and sales for your business?

For all of your multimedia, give people a way to further engage with your company, whether it’s by including a link to your website or relevant blog article in the video/image/etc. description, or including your logo or call to action within the multimedia.

4) Are You Listening to Your Customers?

This multimedia content is yet another way for content written about you by you, your customers, or fans, to bubble to the top of search results. While you may not yet have posted any multimedia about your company, your customers are most definitely already talking about you online, in a variety of ways and mediums.

Universal search results make it that much more important for you to listen and engage with your customers online, so that you know what they’re saying, and so that you can promote flattering content and respond to negative criticism.

If you’d like to have a longer talk about this and discuss some common-sense ways that you can take advantage of these changes then do take a look at our website and get in touch.

With thanks to Hubspot for their words of wisdom on this subject.

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