Natural Search Blog


Google’s Ranking Advice in Blended Search at SMX West

David Bailey at SMX WestJust a quick post here on some simple tips that David Bailey of Google advised in this morning’s session on “The Blended Search Revolution” at the SMX West conference in Santa Clara:

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Zvents Launches Federated Local Search

Zvents announced today their launch of a new, blended search results page for local content. Now, when you do searches on their site, they’ll bring back results for various businesses, events, performances, movies, store sales and more in your local area. Here’s a screengrab of the newly-blended results page:

Zvents - New Federated Search
(click to enlarge)

You can see little icons to the right side of the listings which indicate what type of listing each result represents.

Google’s move to Universal Search in the past year and their recent move to expand out the local one-box results from a few listings to ten would indicate that user-testing is showing blended results to be a very popular item among search engine users. Zvents move to provide blended results makes them a very strong contender as a provider for local search and content technology. As Greg Sterling mentions, Zvents is a provider for syndicated content for third parties like newspapers, and they’re clearly positioning themselves as a potential backend for other local content sites wanting to have functionality similar to Google’s.

From trying out Zvents’ new functionality, (more…)

Upcoming Appearances

SMX West Speaker Badge 2008I’ll be speaking on the “Local Search, and Blended Results” and “Online Retail and Blended Results” panels at the SMX West conference in Santa Clara, California, February 26 – 28, 2008.

Quite a few sessions at this conference are focusing on “blended results” — the new paradigm that has been affecting search results pages layouts and listing rankings. Each of the search engines have been looking into folding their various specialized, vertical search contents into the main keyword search results pages in order to better expose that content and facilitate usage of those features.

Google’s introduction of Universal Search during 2007 was probably the most attention-getting paradigm shift in terms of bringing search marketers to realize that they frequently need to achieve good placement in each of the specialized vertical searches like Images, Local/Maps, Video, News, and etc. to help guarantee rankings and ongoing market-share.

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SES Session on Universal & Blended Vertical Search

I’m busy attending this year’s Search Engine Strategies Conference (SES) in San Jose, but I thought it’d be worthwhile to pause for half a minute in the flurry of sessions and networking to mention a couple of interesting things I heard from Google in yesterday’s session on Universal and Blended Vertical Search.

(more…)

Target Universal Search via Image SEO – SES San Jose 2007

I’ll be speaking at the Search Engine Strategies Conference in San Jose later this month, on the “Images & Search Engines” panel on the second day. The topic of my presentation will be on using Image Sharing Sites for SEO, and I focus particularly upon optimizing through Flickr. I’ll again be speaking with Liana Evans, and Shari Thurow, and we’ll be joined this time with Cris Pierry who is Director of Web & Multi-Media Search at Yahoo!, as well as James Jeude who is Senior Product Manager at Ask.com.

Hear me speak - SES San Jose, 2007

If you’ve missed this session previously, I’d encourage you to consider attending it. The advent of Universal Search at Google has resulted in the integration of top results from other areas of Google’s various vertical searches, smashing together their previous “siloed” sections. Clearly, top placement in each of those silos can now improve your chances of having content appear on the first page of the core web search results, so tips on top placement in Image Search may now be a vital strategy for you as you work upon improving and maintaining rankings on various keyword terms.

I’ve previously written and spoken on optimizing for Image Search, and using images for SEO purposes, and I recently wrote some tips on using images for local search optimization – another of the top three most-popular vertical searches.

Even if you’re working on a site that you don’t feel really lends itself to an image optimization strategy, I’d challenge you to rethink that! Even if you’re in a particularly “dry” industry, you likely could take photos of your products or your employees performing your services, and you could be using those photos for the purposes of SEO. How about even photographing portions of your fabrication process? Not only could those pix get you placement in Image Search as well as with the images component of Universal Search, uploading those pix into some of the more popular image sharing sites out there could result in improving your inbound links, helping to build your overall PageRank. Industries which don’t immediately seem compelling subjects for images may enjoy even greater potential in this area, because the competition might never clue into the advantages of integrating images into the site and into an overall search marketing strategy.

Also at SES San Jose, Marissa Mayer, Google’s Vice President of Search Products & User Experience, one of the core inventors of their Universal Search design, will be participating in the keynote conversation with Danny Sullivan on Day 3 of the conference – a session I’d highly recommend as “not-to-be-missed”!

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Google Confirms New Local OneBox Placement in SERPs

I earlier reported that Google SERPs were now showing the “OneBox” containing Google Maps listings embedded throughout the listings in the results pages, not just at the very top any more. Days later, Google has now confirmed this new layout on the new Google LatLong Blog:

You’ve probably heard Google’s big announcement about Universal search. As part of this, when you search for local businesses on Google.com, listings from Google Maps are now blended into the results page. These listings may appear at the top, middle, or bottom of the page based on their relevance compared to the other web results.

Previously we only showed local listings at the top of the results page, and since this was prime real estate, we would not display the listings if we were not certain that you were looking for a local business. Within the Universal search framework, we are now able to more smartly handle ambiguous queries. For example, for the query [san francisco bar] we can now satisfy users who are looking for the website of the Bar Association of San Francisco as well as those looking for a local place to get a drink.

Well, you heard it here, first! 😉

I’ll probably circle back around and comment about Google’s new “Universal Search” later on.

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