Universal and Blended Search – Inside the Marketers’ Studio

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Editor's Note: This "Inside the Marketers' Studio" post, where we ask savvy marketers for their take on the burning marketing questions of the day, is inspired by a panel on comprehensive visibility challenges at the upcoming Search Engine Strategies Toronto conference.

I often hear
questions about search and multiple media indexing – how do we show up
in YouTube, does Twitter show up in search results, how can we get our
product images to be indexed, etc. With search engines now indexing
several forms of content, marketers need to understand how to get ALL
of their content indexed.  I asked folks from the leading search
engines to share some insights into this emerging and important aspect
of SEO and answer the following questions:

  1. As a result of blended search results, what do you think is the most pressing change that  marketers will have to make?
  2. For your particular search engine, what is  the top tip you can offer marketers who want to optimize for your engine?
  3. What  are your top 2 or 3 favourite resources/tools/blogs for marketers who want to  be more effective at search marketing?

They've shared their experiences and insights below – we'd be delighted if you shared YOUR answers in the comments!

First, we asked moderator Mark Grehan for the definition of "universal and blended search" that he used to launch the discussion:

Mike Grehan Mike Grehan, SES Advisory Board &  Global KDM Officer Acronym Media

Google’s
(and other search engines)  move to blended results is a natural
progression to provide a much richer end user experience. And as Google
changes to provide the most relevant results from a number of sources,
so the search marketing industry must change with it. Now, we see a
move away from the solid bedrock process of SEO to a newer process of
digital asset optimization (DAO). This allows us to provide our clients
with numerous different ways of connecting with their audience via
everything from a pdf document to video as well as other channels such
as news, finance and blog results. It’s more about visibility than it
is about ranking static web pages.

Bill Tighe Bill Tighe, Agency Business Development AE, Google Canada

1. As a result of blended search results, what do you think is the most pressing change that marketers will have to make?

With the inclusion of local data, video, images etc it becomes more and
more important to participate in your key search result pages.  Video
search alone is fast becoming a very large part of how users are
searching, and you want to ensure that your video is either uploaded or
created in response to this.  Name and describe your video accurately
with "search" results in mind and upload it to YouTube.  You may or may
not be featured in blended search results but at least you are active
and participating in a medium that is growing very very quickly.  The
same applies to your local data – ensure that you are represented and
have updated the most recent and accurate data of where you are locally
(https://www.google.com/local/add/).  "Images" are harder to
participate in but it is something that many site and business owners
overlook – enrich your site with valuable images that contribute
information and context to your site or business (a picture of your
store front, products, logo etc).

Always a good idea to keep a firm eye on your competitive and most
lucrative search result pages and keep things active, fresh and
relevant.  This has always applied to your text ads but as consumers
evolve and expect more – so does Google (and its algorithm) and so
should you.

2. For your particular search engine, what is the top tip you can offer marketers who want to optimize for your engine?

Get Google Analytics installed on your site and pay close attention to
how users are engaging with your content.  Adding relevance and value
to your site based on user engagement is the best approach to SEO.  If
you optimize your own site the rest will take care of itself.  Oh, and
always refer to www.google.com/webmasters.

3. What are your top 2 or 3 favourite resources/tools/blogs for marketers who want to be more effective at search marketing?

Occam's Razor – if you have not experienced one of Avinash's webinars – do so ASAP.
Ad Words Editor – manage your accounts at scale – fast.  
Conversion University – if you are an effective SEM you are using analytics, and likely
Google Analytics.  This is a great resource.
Google  – honestly, the SEM universe has been
asking questions and solving problems for so long now that your answer
awaits…just search.

Stacey Jarvis Stacey Jarvis, Search Lead, Consumer and Online, Microsoft Canada

1. As a result of blended search results, what do you think is the most pressing change that marketers will have to make?

Next generation consumers expect more from their search experience as
the content on the web has evolved from purely text to now include
imagery, video, audio and let’s not forget social expression.  Blended
search is simply content organization, which is the first step away from
the status quo of the static blue links. But innovation doesn’t stop
there, and marketers need a smart approach to maximize their results.

Blended
or universal search empowers marketers to get creative with content
that includes video, pictures, news or local search. SERPs with blended
results can also become more specialized and offer vertical specific
content like Live Search Health & Travel verticals recently rolled
out in the US, which can help target the best audience for your
message.

To really take advantage of blended search
opportunities marketers need to have the right balance of paid and
organic listings. They also need to ensure brand elements and messaging
are consistent across the board — so videos, images and other organic
results tie to their paid search presence and builds the brand instead
of detracting from it.

2. For your particular search engine, what is the top tip you can offer marketers who want to optimize for your engine?

Live Search already offers a rich blended search experience, with web,
news, maps, local, images and video. We are also working on rolling out
the Shopping, Health & Travel verticals in Canada to make our
offering for both consumers & advertisers richer. To ensure
Marketers are reaching their ideal audience I would suggest they
leverage organic and paid search across multiple engines, to take full
advantage of audiences each reach through their respective experiences.

 
I’d also encourage marketers to look at our broader Microsoft
offerings. Live Search integrates with some of Canada’s most popular
web destinations, such as Windows Live Hotmail, our Sympatico / MSN
portal and Windows Live Messenger, making Microsoft uniquely positioned
to provide advertisers with a massive and highly engaged audience. With
both paid and organic search results, and targeted display advertising
across Microsoft properties, marketers maximize their ROI potential.

Finally, I’d encourage marketers to take advantage of adCenter’s suite
of analytical tools, which help you easily target you best-fit audience
and measure the success of your campaigns.

3. What are your top 2 or 3 favourite resources/tools/blogs for marketers who want to be more effective at search marketing?

adCenter Community is a great resource for any marketers looking to
refine their search marketing techniques. It’s an online meeting place
where advertisers from around the globe can communicate with each other
and share best practices.
 
I’d also encourage marketers to get
involved at the local level. Here in Toronto, organizations such as
Mesh or Casecamp and events such as SES, provide opportunities to
connect with peers, share best practices and practical examples of some
of the great and innovative things happing in our community.

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One thought on “Universal and Blended Search – Inside the Marketers’ Studio

  1. Andy Xhignesse

    Great article Kate, thanks for providing this. For some time now it seems that we’ve been discussing this approach or that tool or this new development, and while this is an important discussion does it do justice to the greater picture? I’m a real believer in a holistic approach that considers the overall synergy created by a well thought out overall plan as opposed to focusing in on one thing or another and the offering here suggests to me that the blended approach is in fact the “way to go”. I hope that soon we’ll see some numbers that can confirm this. For companies that are just beginning this extended presence development, what do you think should be the top three initiatives and in what order?
    Please keep this great info stream flowing.
    We’re at the edge fo the future!
    Andy

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