Inside Google Universal

Getting your web site on page one of Google is a daunting challenge. But as SEO expert JASMINE BATRA explains, the Google Universal search model allows you to use different content to boost your rating.

By Jasmine Batra

Google Universal SEO tips

Getting your web site on page one of Google is a daunting challenge. But the Google Universal search model allows you to use different content to boost your rating.

Every week it seems search giant Google spreads its tentacles into another area of the internet. On top of its dominant share of the online search market, the company has become the ultimate content aggregator, pulling together news, blogs, images, video, maps and books.

On the surface, Google’s rapid growth makes it more daunting for business operators desperate to get their site on page one of a Google ranking page.

But Google’s Universal Search, which integrates all of Google’s content sources (news, images, videos, maps, books etc) in all web search results, can actually provide companies with a chance to boost their ranking by optimising their web presence across different media.

How Google Universal works

As you’ve probably noticed, the format of Google search has changed in recent months. Previously, Google followed a silo model, where a standard web search would only deliver webpage results. If you were searching for photos of wedding gowns, you needed to search on Google Images.

Google Universal SEO tips

Now, since all the segmented verticals and formats are blended within web search itself (as shown above), you will see image results for wedding gowns when doing a standard web search. You can also get blog results for wedding gowns or books on the subject. These search results are still ranked by relevance, but are not limited to plain text.

About six months back Google added two more of its vertical search engines to the list – blog search and product search.

Google has launched this model to improve the user experience. But from a business owner’s point of view, the key to making Google Universal work for you lies in enabling Google to find more than just your website.

Here are some tips for leveraging the power of Google universal for your business.

Google News

The inclusion of Google News in Google Universal gives your business the chance to achieve page one rankings on Google within hours and days, rather than weeks and months. I did a search for iPhone and the result that occupied prime real estate was a news item that got to the top spot on the results page in just nine hours.

Google Universal SEO tips 2

The story came from an information site on technology, which provides reviews on various gadgets. It posted an optimised news item and was soon reaping the benefit of what Universal Search has to offer.

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This is an extremely quick result compared to conventional search engine optimisation. So how can you make it to Google News?

If your site has dynamic content or a section that is dedicated to latest news, you can create a Google News sitemap. The sitemap is essentially a file that enables you to provide a structure for the content you submit to Google News. It also helps to expedite the discovery of your pages, which in turn helps the Google Robots to crawl and index your pages.

Google provides the schema for creating a news site map. The schema helps you to tell Google about your news articles, their publication date and keywords.

Creating newsworthy content and putting it on unique pages increases the chance of making it to page one. Make sure you highlight those sections of your article (using headings and bold and strong fonts) that are most searched for most. Sites that make it to Google News results often get thousands of visitors a day. So use Google News to announce your next product launch.

Google Videos

You can’t miss the video results on search query. They stand out from other listings and are more clickable.

Here is some data to get you motivated:

  • According to industry watchdog eMarketer, 52% of all website visitors use video.
  • The average YouTube visitor spends 27 minutes watching video per day.
  • Because video is so popular, video links and clips often show up before other content.

So what can you do to take advantage? Get videos and post them on video sites such as YouTube or Google Video.

A large number of videos from YouTube make it to page one of search results. We optimised few “how to” videos for a recipe site and not surprisingly, when someone searches for “dicing vegetables”, the videos show prominently on search results.

Google Universal SEO tips 4

Here is tip on how to get your video on top. Every video has a unique web address and can therefore be linked to, just like any other web page. Clever search engine optimisation, coupled with the inherent popularity of video sites, is a potent combination to get desired results. Videos should be properly tagged with related keywords. Launch a video that is designed with the searchers in mind, and optimise it further for top rankings.

Google Maps

If the products or services you offer are targeted at a particular geographic location, the power of Google Local search cannot be ignored. You can provide information to Google using Local Business Centre with details important to users performing a local search. This can include your street address, phone number, opening hours. Here is an example of a local plastic surgeon in Melbourne.

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Getting listed in Google Local search results is quicker and gives a higher conversion rate. To get more of your map listing, ask your existing customers to provide a review of your service. These reviews will encourage prospects to engage with your company.

If you are still not convinced, here is one more compelling reason why SEO should extend beyond your website. With conventional SEO, one website can have a maximum of two listings in organic rankings. With Google Universal, theoretically speaking, a site can dominate search results by having a footprint in news, blogs and video results. Here is an example of a client site with three listings on page one.

Google Universal SEO tips 6



Jasmine Batra is an SEO consultant to financial companies, Telcos and travel and co-founder of Australian internet marketing company, Arrow Internet Marketing.


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