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What does Google’s New Design mean for Search Marketers?

May 10, 2010

Other search engines have been doing it for a while, but last week saw the roll-out of Google’s three-column results page, where search options (previously hidden behind an expand button) is now a permanent fixture in the left-hand side of the Search Engine Results Page (SERP).

What does this mean for search marketers? Well, if you’re not already, it’s time to give some love to your Universal Search efforts. Now that searchers can more easily refine their queries we need to start expanding and optimizing content beyond traditional page SEO and PPC methods.

Here’s a brief look at 5 of the most prominent universal search options:

Shopping – If you sell online, you want to be showing up in Google’s shopping results.  Make sure you have a Google Merchant Account (which can be linked to your paid search account) and start uploading and managing your product listings. Try to target searcher intent through buy-related and long-tail keywords for those searchers who are further down the buy-cycle.

News – Make sure your Press Releases are properly optimized for organic search. Speak with your PR Manager and share your SEO keyword list with them so they know to match anchor text to your keywords and provide back links to your preferred landing pages. Optimizing press releases are also important from a social media perspective, since Bloggers (and Tweeters) will often refer to news wires and search engine news services as a source of information.

Blogs – Google have been experimenting with social search for a while, but it’s interesting to see them bring Blogs to the forefront. If you have a company blog, it’s a great place to utilize important keywords and provide linking opportunities within your website. If you’re not active in the blogging space, decide whether it makes sense to either start one up, or even guest post on an existing industry or publication blog. Also make sure you are monitoring blog posts mentioning your company name and keywords (for example, through listening tools like Google Alerts and Twitter Search).

Images – I don’t know about you, but the one thing I’ve noticed when going through SEO reviews are that Alt Tags are regularly overlooked when building and optimizing pages. Make sure those Alt Tag fields are populated with appropriate SEO keywords, particularly for images that appear on your preferred landing pages.

Videos – Optimize your videos for search by using keyword-rich titles, descriptions, and meta. Also offer up a textual transcript of audio and video content where possible. Think about where you will host your video – on your own website is fine but it’s also good to submit it to various video sharing sites (for example, YouTube) to help increase exposure. Also remember to provide easy options for people to share the video with others. There’s a bunch of ways to optimize video for search engines, much more than what I’ve touched on here.

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From → Search Marketing

4 Comments
  1. Good Advice. I would also suggest that you think through your Twitter strategy as well. Click on Updates option and watch the stream, and consider how your tweets have informational relevance. And speaking of relevance – the Most Recent option really does have the potential to flip SEO on its head. I think in the long run these options are good for consumers, and not so good for website owners. It will be very difficult for websites to dominate every search result view. You also mention user intent – something I know alot about; you can read about how a search behavior model can be modeled, and how a content strategy can be derived from the search model. http://marksprague.wordpress.com/

    Mark Sprgue

  2. I noticed they’ve removed the whole web vs country specific options under the search box for non-US countries (e.g. google.co.uk). The default is whole web. They now have a link to country specific results as an option on the left of the SERPs.

    I guess this is a reflection of user preference, users favouring the whole web option (which was the default before) rather than choosing the country specific option. The removal of the radio buttons is in line with their keeping a clean interface efforts.

    The new interface makes it more obvious you are viewing country specific results, there is a notification bar at the top of the page.

    This change makes me wonder if the filtering on country specific searches has also changed at all.

  3. Thanks for your comments. This is definitely an interesting time for search marketers.

  4. Great to see an updated blog talk about Google’s new theme. I’m not a big fan of it, it seems a bit gimmicky and like a mix between Yahoo! and Bing, Google should stick with a SERP that works.

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