universal search

How to rank for images and video in universal search

You don’t have to go far to find digital marketers wringing their hands over the growing invasion of Google’s universal features into the SERPs.

And can you blame them? In the search results for the query “rainbow” (shown below), there is a single standard organic result above the fold.

The value of Google Authorship for your content strategy

In February 2011 the first Panda Google algorithm update affected search results and changed the way SEO professionals and webmasters needed to think about optimizing websites.

The goal of Google Panda was to lower the rank of ‘low-quality’ websites that had thin content and increase rankings of higher quality and more authoritative websites. It was the beginning of the end of ‘SEO content’.

Since then, and after more than a dozen updates to the Google Panda algorithm, websites have exponentially had to improve the quality of their content. There are various ways people speculate Google deems a website quality including the depth of the content, engagement metrics on pages, social sharing and the quality of websites linking.


Google is showing more news results within searches

Often when you perform a search, Google will incorporate current relevant news stories within the search engine results pages under the heading ‘News For’. 

For sites that carry any sort of news, these news results are an excellent opportunity to increase search visibility and traffic.

Google Shopping integrations in universal search drop 79% after shift to paid model

Google’s decision to move its Shopping product from a free to a paid-for service has coincided with a massive decline in the number of shopping results showing up in universal search integrations on Google.com.

A new report from Searchmetrics shows that in January 2012 shopping results appeared in 20% of universal search integrations, however by December this number had fallen to just 5%.

The steepest decline occurred in October, which is also the month that Google made the switch to a paid-for model.

To be clear, universal search refers to boxes containing additional media, which appear between the actual organic search results and can also generate higher click rates.

Overall the data shows that the proportion of keywords with at least one universal search integration declined throughout 2012. In January the proportion was about 86% but by December it had decreased to 75%.

Travel sites failing to optimise images and video for search

As we pointed out in a blog post yesterday, the travel industry is highly sophisticated in its use of digital marketing, and SEO in particular.

A report from Epiphany and Searchmetrics found that TripAdvisor dominates organic search rankings, but other travel sites are achieving high visibility in SERPs by targeting niche keywords and building high quality backlinks.

Another section of the report shows that a majority of sites are failing to make the most of videos and images to maximise their search visibility. 

It has a big impact on traffic, as page one visibility in SERPs can often be achieved more quickly through good universal search rankings.

And good visual content is integral for the travel sector, with people keen to see pictures and video guides of places, tourist attractions and hotels.

So why is it so important, and which sites are getting it right?