Insight on universal search from panel at DMA 08

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Optimizing universal search is top of mind for many at the DMA 08 Conference and Exhibition in Las Vegas.  The panel titled “The Rise of Universal Search—A Changing Landscape,” included Craig MacDonald (VP of product management and marketing for Covario, Inc.), Olivier Lemaignen (group manager of global search marketing, Intuit), Paul Bruemmer (interactive director of search marketing, Red Door Interactive) and Dave Lloyd (search marketing manager, Cisco).

MacDonald began by sharing a very compelling statistic: 93.1% of clicks within search results happen on the first page. This means companies need to utilize all aspects of their brand, especially when it comes to universal or blended search. Lemaignen then showed the audience a “heat map” of where on a Web page consumers look most when they’re looking at all-text results compared to universal search results, which display images, videos, news and user-generated content pages.

The former showed that the most-viewed section of the page is the top left in an F-shape while the latter shows more spread out viewership across the entire page. This alone could change the way marketers are tweaking their search campaigns. This shows that the coveted top positions may not be the most effective spots to target when using universal search.

Bruemmer said the other important aspect companies should consider is optimizing their own videos, blogs and PR to enhance results on these pages. Lloyd agreed saying companies also need to continuously keep an eye on their own presence on blogs and other social media to upkeep their reputation management. “The rumor mill doesn’t start on Google,” he said, “it starts on blogs.”

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