Universal Search In 2009 – What it Means For Your Website Rankings

Lately, you may have noticed changes in the way Google delivers the results of search queries. These returns may now include pictures, videos, shopping results, maps and even press releases.  Google calls this Universal Search, and it allows them to show its sponsored listings on all these different media thereby reaching a wider internet audience.

“Universal Search is really useful and I think it will continue to expand,” said Matt Cutts, Google spokesman.  He recommends changing the way you optimize your site for organic search rankings.  “You have to think about how you build buzz, how do you get loyal customers, how do you optimize ROI, how do I make good videos, do I have a book, things like that.”

According to statistics released in February 2009, Google makes up more than 63% of search traffic; Yahoo! has about 20% and MSN about 8%.  So Google is by far the leader in search traffic, and you need to develop a strategy to meet Google’s new Universal Search direction. Images, videos and articles are all parts of your site that could be working harder for your company.

Explained below are more details on how to better optimize your internet marketing for Universal Search.

Press Releases
Post your press releases and company news into Google News and Yahoo! News. If you’re not writing press releases, then begin including them into your internet marketing strategy. With Universal Search your press release gives you another chance to show up in the search engine results. A press release allows you to look good in your industry, even if you are just commenting on industry trends or a recent study.  The more you write about your company, the more search results you will see.

Since images are commonly showing up in search results, every business site should now consider adding more pictures of projects, illustrations, graphs, and charts to your site.  Google indexes images based on text around them and the description text in the HTML image tags. If you are selling a product or have a travel site it is especially important to include images.

If you have presentations, training videos, interviews or commercials, optimize them for search because they will show up in Universal Search results.  We find the best way to handle your videos is to upload them to YouTube.com then imbed them on your site.  In addition, create a multimedia page where customers and search engines can easily locate them. On YouTube make sure you use keywords in the title of your videos and tell your friends to rate them after they are posted.  Google has gotten better indexing Flash, and these videos can also help your site in Universal Search. Make sure you submit your video sitemap to Webmaster Tools so that it gets onto Google Video Search. The video format doesn’t matter; Google can handle all of them.

If a search for your site is in any way location specific, you will want to show up in Google Maps.  Here you can offer coupons to visitors of your map listing, and after your account is verified (via a phone call or a letter) you can add all of your business locations from a single account.

Additionally, you can embed a link to Google maps from your website contact page, whereby your client can view an accurate road map with specific directions to your location. You can even add a photo of your business so they know exactly what building to look for.

With Universal Search your products can appear directly in the search results.  If Google thinks a user is searching for a specific product, it will show relevant shopping results – for free! Google’s shopping results typically show a product title, a price and your company name.  To get your products into the search results you need a product feed that Google sees as high quality and relevant. Follow the Google Base Program Policies, and make sure your items also meet these requirements:

– Products must be shippable throughout the United States.

– Items and landing pages must list prices in US dollars.

– Only fixed prices are allowed. Variable prices, such as

auction items, are not allowed.

– Landing pages must be eCommerce-enabled and have only one item per


While it’s important to prepare for Universal Search, don’t forget you still need an optimized website for natural search results. This means it’s still important for each page to have a keyword-rich title and description, unique content and quality links.

If you want to be ready before your competition and increase the chances of getting your name in front of more potential clients and customers, then click here to contact PA Internet Marketing today. We can help you with maps, shopping results, videos, photos, and press releases to maximize your site for Universal Search

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