Lee Odden submits a great primer on how businesses can and should be leveraging what is widely known as the “Universal Search” movement. Yes, movement. Ask.com calls it 3D, Yahoo and MSN are in on the act too.
What is Universal Search?
In simple terms, it’s all about search engines trying to satisfy all the needs and desires of users — to the point of them now blending search results pages (SERPs) that tap into other databases of knowledge (that their search bots have amassed through crawling the Web for stuff).
These include news (i.e. Yahoo News), video (i.e. YouTube), images (i.e. Google Images), local (i.e. Google Local), products and book (i.e. Books.Google.com). When users type Michael Jackson Thriller into the search box they’ll get all kinds of results now… not just links to text documents.
Why This New Kind of Search is Critically Important
Web surfers have some kind of intent when they ask queries and search engines seek to deliver them exactly what they are looking for. Providing them with a mixture of possibilities spanning multiple forms of media makes sense.
“Many businesses won’t even notice why their search visibility has changed until it’s far into the game. “
Having a plan to make the most of search engines use of ALL forms of media (audio/visual and text) is vital to your success and is a key social media tactic. It should be a piece of your social media strategy. How can you be sure your Web site is making the most of the Universal Search?
- Invest in optimizing (making them discoverable by search engine bots that crawl and index the Web) your other stuff — like Web site images.
- Use simple, affordable tools to produce and distribute short audio and video programs.
- Provide newsworthy articles and news releases to search engine news sites.
What You Can Do Today
Mr. Odden brilliantly outlines exactly what to do.
“Optimizing holistically starts with an inventory of a company’s digital assets. Text, images, audio and video are all considered along with the incorporation of keyword messaging across company communications. Matching digital assets with channels of distribution provides marketers with even more opportunity to reach customers since each channel (blogging, email, media relations, social networking, forums, etc) can drive traffic independently…”
Easy? Not really but required for Web 2.0 success.
“If a small business is not in the habit of creating content in multiple formats, then it will mean change. In fact, substantial changes may be necessary with content creation, approval and publishing processes along with the need for ongoing education.”
According to Odden, video is the new ‘rock star.’