Universal search changes all the rules: SES panelists

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Search isn't just for Web pages anymore. Google's Universal Search blends video, local, news and book content into the top ten list. Ask.com's new 3D approach makes vertical results blend into a more seamless search experience. Yahoo and Microsoft also give vertical results a presence in response to a default search.

For the search marketer, all the rules have changed, according to Greg Jarboe, president and co-founder of SEO-PR and panelist at San Jose's Search Engine Strategies Conference and Exhibition.

Jarboe gave several examples of keyword searches, which give a first page of results with links to video, blogs and, at the top of what he calls the orange triangle û the top left corner of the results page û news results.

Optimizing press releases is now key in getting good organic ranking.

"Search remains the No. 1 way that journalists obtain additional story information and so if you are not optimizing your press releases, shame on you," Jarboe said.

There are 98 million blogs, and social mapping tools can be used to identify the most influential bloggers.

"You can't afford to ignore Universal Search," said Sherwood Stranieri, search marketing director at Catalyst Online. "Google is making specialized vertical content more visible through Universal Search."

Stranieri said that this should be a huge boom to those who pay attention to news, video, image and blog search.

Conventional Web pages that ranking well with conventional search may get pushed down with Google's Universal Search.

Video popularity used to be based on viral spreading and other conventional ranking factors, though this is not the case anymore, as videos are now ranked according to factors such as number of comments and views.

"It is possible that Google uses its Hot Trends list factor in video choices" Straniei said.

Bill Slawski, director of search marketing at Commerce 360 said that it is important to learn to rank well.

"Rank well for vertical databases and figure out common searches on topics that people will likely search for within this vertical," Slawski said.

He said it is possible that Universal Search rankings are triggered by the way a query is phrased or the operators that searchers used.

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