SES, San Jose 2007: Universal & Blended Vertical Search!

Aug 21, 2007 | 6,460 views | by Navneet Kaushal
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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 10 list. Ask.com's new 3D approach is designed to make vertical results blend into a more seamless search experience. Yahoo and Microsoft also both give vertical results a presence in response to default search. This session looks at how these changes impact life for the search marketer.

Moderator:

  • Chris Sherman, Co-Chair, SES San Jose

Speakers:

  • Greg Jarboe, President and Co-Founder, SEO-PR
  • Sherwood Stranieri, Search Marketing Director, Catalyst online
  • Bill Slawski, Director of Search Marketing, Commerce360

Q&A Speakers:

  • Erik Collier, Director of Product Management, Ask.com
  • David Bailey, Engineer, Google
  • Tim Mayer, Vice President of Product Management, Yahoo! Search

greg jarboe SES, San Jose 2007: Universal & Blended Vertical Search!

Greg Jarboe, President and Co-Founder of SEO-PR is up first. According to Jarboe, Universal Search has undergone change and is one of the most remarkable effects in search since the 2003 Google "Florida" Update.. Good for us as it now can be customised to our needs as it gradually evolves. However, new recruits in the industry will not be able to gain an edge over the old timers.

To demonstrate the effectiveness of Google Universal Search, Jarboe performed a search on Hillary Clinton where the results had some not too flattering images but now using optimization for the images this too can be altered. Now, Hillary Clinton's PR personnel can use optimization to their advantage. In a humorous note Jarboe says the reason for the not too pretty images is a right-wing conspiracy. Showcasing another example of Google Universal Search in action is a quick search on Hurricane Dean. The search engine result pages have news results on the #1 rank followed by blogs. Jarboe states that in a few days' time the search engine result pages will have more images, videos etc as people generally prefer seeing images of devastation.

Bottomline, rules have been re-written. A current trend among companies is to use a blog post as a PR release. These Press releases he says should be optimized with pictures (jpeg file) and additional information for leverage as now-a-days, journalists find the latest in world news over the internet. Jarboe suggests using News Knife and Google News Report.

Currently Google News has not integrated videos but talk is on that it won't be a long time until we see them as a predominant feature.

sherwood stranieri SES, San Jose 2007: Universal & Blended Vertical Search!

Next up is Sherwood Stranieri the search marketing Director of Catalyst online is the second person to speak.

Stranieri states that the standard results of Google Universal Search (GUS) is the culmination of multimedia and news resources for its users. However, the theme alters with different search engines. Ask.com creates a sectional division among its results. Yahoo! and Microsoft follow the same theme in terms of images while Google uses everything into one list.

Stranieri, now switches focus on videos and Google Universal Serach. The question that rises is how Gogle Universal Search differentiates text-based pages and videos. To show an example of how videos appear in search engine result pages in Google Universal Search, Stranieri uses the example of Criss Angel.

example of Criss Angel: The results are a mix of both videos and standard pages. Based on this, Stranieri says that the factors that make a video do well in search engine pages does not depend alone of number of views, comments garnered from viewers but requires both video factors and site optimizing. GUS incorporates Google hot trends to conclude whether the video is worthy of a rank or not.

bill slawski SES, San Jose 2007: Universal & Blended Vertical Search!

Bill Slawski of Commerce 360 is next in line to speak. Bill maintains that universal search is not a new revolution that just happened but is a lengthy process of evolution that has slowly graduated to where it is.

A search on “spider” in Google, MSN, Yahoo! And Ask.com had varying results with Ask.com showing the most multimedia results. He talks about Google’s Universal Search patent and how it originally suggested that Google would list alternative results in the right hand side where the ads currently are. Obviously, this isn’t the Universal Search we’re seeing now but it was the prototype back then.

Next up, Slawski presented a Google Universal Search patent aplication that showed that initially Google put up alternative search results (such as images) on the right hand of the search engine result page. After this Bill Slawski explained again how universal search is an evolutionary phenomenon and not a revolutionary one through a very technical method. The gist is that OneBox collects Log data and classified into triplets, viz. u=user info, q=query info, r=information about repositories. Now, this data varies from time of day, date, country and other factors.

After the first three speakers, the representatives from Google, Yahoo! And Ask.com have 5 minutes each.

david bailey SES, San Jose 2007: Universal & Blended Vertical Search!

David Bailey, Google.

Bailey says that the reason for Google Universal Search is to give users all the information they need to receive the best results.

A quick search for origami, shows images, standard results and a MetaCafe video while a search on Cranson RI shows a Gogle Local listing. Bottomline, users, businesses, advertisers should best use Google services to leverage through videos, local listing and product feeds.

tim mayer SES, San Jose 2007: Universal & Blended Vertical Search!

Tim Mayer, Yahoo!

Yahoo's Tim Mayer declares that their company's motive is to have correlation within the results and not to shoo the search user away to the next page. Further, Tim mayer discusses soem of Yahoo's new features such as:

  • Movie Shortcut
  • Music Artists Shortcuts
  • Consumer Electronics Shortcut
  • Hotel Shortcut Inline

Mayer further claims that if your hide the logo of the search engine you are using , most results in Search engine result pages are the same.

eric collieri SES, San Jose 2007: Universal & Blended Vertical Search!

Erik Collier the Director of Product Management of Ask.com is finally the lat speaker.

Showing the interface of Ask.com's search engine result page, Erik discusses how Ask.com integrates blended search. Clearly, remarkably unlike Yahoo's or Google's as it separates each form of media (images, videos etc) into sections and not stack it all in into one big pile.

On the left column of the search engine result page is the list of suggested search. In the centre are the standard blended results. Also featuring is a nifty little pair of binoculars (the best feature) which provides a review of the page. On the far right of the page are multimedia results like images, movies,video etc.

Now, this has shown a high rise of satisfaction among Ask.com users. Ask.com now has seen a 30% decrease in the number of users who move to the second page while also seeing a 15% decrease among user sessions within the first page of results.

What does this mean for search engine marketing?

  • A bigger percentage of search engine result pages with blended results.
  • SERPs will be affected by the location of the user.
  • Expect less web results within the search engine result pages.
  • Images, videos and blogs will consider online reputation in terms of position.
  • Focus on search drivers – Search suggestions, related search, TypeAhead Suggestions etc.

IMAGE SOURCE: SERound Table

4.thumbnail SES, San Jose 2007: Universal & Blended Vertical Search!

Navneet Kaushal

Navneet Kaushal is the founder and CEO of PageTraffic, an SEO Agency in India with offices in Chicago, Mumbai and London. A leading search strategist, Navneet helps clients maintain an edge in search engines and the online media. Navneet's expertise has established PageTraffic as one of the most awarded and successful search marketing agencies.
4.thumbnail SES, San Jose 2007: Universal & Blended Vertical Search!
4.thumbnail SES, San Jose 2007: Universal & Blended Vertical Search!