By Alli Summerford
April 15, 2007
When something changes at the world’s most important search engine, it is best to take notice. Google’s recent switch to “Universal Search” is a big change and one that affects all web site owners that depend on Google traffic for their business. What is Universal Search and why does it matter?
Universal search is the term given to the new method Google is using in delivering search results. In the past, when a search term was entered into Google’s search field, it returned the web sites that best matched the query. Simple enough. A site owner competed only with the other web sites vying for placement with the same keywords. Now, however, Google delivers “universal” results. That is, they now deliver results that include other digital content such as video, images, news, books and blogs. So the competition for valuable real estate on the results page is steeper and includes not just other web sites but digital media of all types.
How Universal Search Affects Site Owners
The bottom line is that site owners now have a broader and more competitive playing field. How does a site remain competitive in the context of these changes and position its business for success? Adjust to the changing climate. For site owners, that means developing digital content across a variety of formats. Here are a few ideas to jumpstart a site’s universality in this new environment.
- Start a blog
- Use online press release services such as prweb.com
- Create video content (see this helpful article, Video Search Engine Basics)
- Include images of products and people
- Branch out to other areas of the web by participating in web communities and social media
The last item above is really the key to success in this new world. Site owners need to broaden their reach so that they are not dependant on the web user coming to their site to initiate the relationship. Instead, they must widen their marketing efforts beyond the web site and become participants in the web community in which they compete, allowing the relationship to start where the user already is. That might mean writing and posting news pieces on industry issues, becoming an active Digg member, or adding video tutorials or marketing pieces to both the site as well as YouTube.
There will be a first to market advantage for those business owners that jump on these opportunities. While no small amount of work is required to develop the new content and expand a site’s reach, the rewards will justify the efforts. Get out those marketing plans and start re-writing now before the competition does.