At SES Chicago last year, Yahoo VP of Consumer Products, Larry Cornett suggested that blended search results bring businesses a broader range of SEO opportunities, a chance to take control of their brand, and a potential increase in qualified clicks. While these blended results can tend to divert users away from organic listings, as SEO Dave Naylor pointed out at that same conference, Cornett does have a point.
Blended search results offer ways to get to the front page of search results beyond just the highly more competitive organic rankings. Sites have opportunities to show up for:
- real-time results
- news results
- image results
- video results
- shopping results
- local results (customers don't even need to go to your site in some cases)
At the recent Online Marketing Summit in San Diego, WebProNews spoke with Conductor CEO Seth Besmertnik, who says companies should still build a foundation in organic rankings before trying to conquer other areas:
That said you can break these different elements of blended results down one by one, and look at ways to have your site perform well in each particular one. Here are tips for image search optimization, for example. Here are some for video. Here are some for real-time search. Here are some for news search.
Back to Cornett's point about qualified clicks - focus on what makes the most sense for your site. Is focusing on real-time search worth your time? With Google, at least, even if you show up here, your presence will quickly give way to the next in line, and you will be off the page momentarily (although there still may be times when it makes sense to be seen here).
If you don't have quality video content, video search optimization is not bound to be a very practical use of you time. However, if you do have some good stuff, perhaps you should be heavily focused in this area. I think you get the point.
Of course there are plenty of other factors of today's search results page that drive users away from the "ten blue links" of organic results. It's not just the blended search elements discussed above. You've also got search suggestions, related search links, location, mobile use, paid listings, search options, and various other elements of the user experience that compete for user attention. This is one reason why the lines between search marketing and other types of marketing continue to blur (consider that users of Google or Yahoo can customize their home pages to accomodate many of their favorite sites, making those just a click away).
Still, that foundation in natural search that Besmertnik mentioned is definitely a big part of the overall picture. I suggest taking advantage of your listings here, and maximizing those, regardless of how well you rank. Things like site links and breadcrumbs come to mind.