Optimizing for Mixed Media Search Results

    December 7, 2009
    Chris Crum

As Google’s search engine competitors often bring up, searchers want more than just "ten blue links" these days. Of course it has been quite a while now since search results from any of the big three were only ten blue links for most searches. We are well into the era of blended search.

Google calls this "Universal" search, but the concept is generally the same among Google, Yahoo, and Bing. Results incorporate different forms of online media. Every day, we see image results, news results, video results, local results, blog results, and more sprinkled throughout search results for any given query. That’s just how it is now.

Google Universal Search Results

The nature of blended search requires that webmasters not only optimize their sites for search in general, but for separate and individual search engines. As SEO Dave Naylor pointed out at SES Chicago, blended or universal search results can reduce traffic for "traditional" sites. These results usually catch the user’s eye, and may draw them away from organic listings (this is one of the reasons why local search optimization is getting more difficult).

That said, there are tremendous advantages to blended search results, obviously for the user, but even for the webmaster and/or business.

According to Larry Cornett, VP of Consumer Products at Yahoo, who spoke on this subject at the conference, the value of blended, mixed media search results comes from:

– a more comprehensive search experience
– guiding searchers to the right results
– a broader range of SEO opportunities
– taking control of your brand
– increasing qualified clicks

Just break it down by the areas you have a shot at ranking in. Can you get indexed in news search? Image search? Blog search? Forgive me for quoting Too $hort, but "Get in where you fit in." Can you do video and make it helpful and relevant to users? Do it and optimize for video. The more categories of media that the search engines are incorporating into results (that you can justify getting involved with), the more cracks you have at additional results page real estate.

Read these articles for more on this kind of thinking and specific tips on carrying it out:

How Do Google’s New Search Options Affect SEO?

Google News SEO Tips – Ranking in News Search

Get More Traffic from Bing’s Image Search

Rank in Image Searches and Get Valuable, Untapped Traffic

Tips For Ranking Higher On and With YouTube

Critical Local Search Factors To Pay Attention To

Tons of Tips for Ranking in 5 Other Google Engines (looks at YouTube, Image Search, Google News, Maps/Local, and Blog Search)

Have additional tips or advice? Share here.