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Universal Search Vs. Onebox Search


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Poll: Optimization for Google Resuls (10 member(s) have cast votes)

Is Optimizing for Google Universal Search Harder Now?

  1. No, because it follows similar rules as OneBox Optimization (9 votes [90.00%])

    Percentage of vote: 90.00%

  2. Yes, because the results can appear anywhere (1 votes [10.00%])

    Percentage of vote: 10.00%

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#1 BillSlawski

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Posted 25 June 2007 - 04:12 PM

I've heard people say that SEO is dead, that personalized search and universal search have made optimizing for ten little blue links too meaningless, or too difficult, or too focused upon technical aspects of optimizing pages.

So, what do you think? Is SEO dead, or is it evolving?

See:

SEO Is Dead. Long Live, er, the Other SEO

End Searcher Optimization: The New SEO

#2 JohnMu

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Posted 25 June 2007 - 04:25 PM

"too difficult"? What's wrong with a good challenge? :D

I think raising the required level required to get constant results is a natural development. Yes, there might be more elements involved, or perhaps just the relevant elements have just been changed.

I know it's not the same everywhere, but here in these forums I've always seen "SEO" being taught as just one of the many elements required to market a product or a company. Are elements like (also) focusing on your local market, targeting niches (the "long tail"), using more than just one medium to convey your message (images, video, PPC, organics, etc) and getting current and prospective customers and friends involved (community, user generated content, etc) really new to marketing?

John

#3 Guest_joedolson_*

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Posted 25 June 2007 - 04:33 PM

Optimizing for "ten little blue links" has always been pretty meaningless - what universal search has done is nothing more than aggregated different types of media. (Okay, that's a gross simplification. Sue me.)

Regardless, I really don't think that it's made anything noticeably more difficult in most industries.

I am, of course, rather biased, but I'm pretty firmly of the opinion that if you focus on building a site which takes your users best interests into account you won't ever really lose out.

The key concept to me is, as John put it, "constant results." If you're building a good site with interesting content, you're building the kind of thing which search engines want to deliver to their customers. They may keep constantly tweaking things, but if you're giving them what they want, they'll ultimately be doing the work for you.

That's not to say that you can ignore the basic technical elements of optimization or keyword research. The building blocks of effective search optimization will always be based on those two factors: technical indexability and community relevance. Effective keywords are simply the set of terms which the community on the whole tends to associate with information location. No matter how search functions, these basic concepts are critically important.

Really, knowing how search engines work is the trivial part of search engine optimization. Take a basic set of principles and don't screw them up, and you'll do OK. Effective conversions is where the real value is. Nothing about universal search has changed that part of the equation.

#4 iamlost

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Posted 25 June 2007 - 05:27 PM

A pox on all their houses.

This question is totally Google-centric. There are more SEs than Google and there is much more to traffic acquisition than SE listings. Neglecting to diversify visitor referral routes is an extremely poor business model. The Kool-aid goes down easier though.

In regard to Mr. Grehan's article:
* he describes a very limited definition of SEO.
* he reiterates his perenial forecast of marketing coming to search.
Given his new position as Vice President, International Business Development, with Bruce Clay, Inc. I read the article as an attempt to pre-empt other SEO firms in the fight for clients.

In the real world SEO has long been seen as a subset of SEM; SEM is not new; marketing is not 'coming' to search, it is already here and well established.

In regard to Mr. Eisenberg's article:
* he lightly skims the change from search engine to ad server.
* he misses the point that the SEs need the paid results (ads) to rate higher than free (organic) results to maintain revenue levels.
* he understands SEO is but a part of optimisation but then recommends ESO (end searcher optimisation) as something new (and by implication, better).

In the real world ESO is not new (except as a term) and needs to be considered and implemented along with SEO, SEM, accessibility, usability, etc.

Good ESO currently happens to approximate good SEO. The one does not, however, supplant the other as their targets are dissimilar. Unless selling one just happens to be your business model.

Two blind men failing to identify the elephant.

And so these men of Indostan

Disputed loud and long,
Each in his own opinion

Exceeding stiff and strong,
Though each was partly in the right,

And all were in the wrong!


Oh, and I agree with the man-in-the-hat and the man-now-known-as-JohnMu.

#5 bwelford

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Posted 25 June 2007 - 08:03 PM

Talk about flogging dead horses.

As it happens, Andy Greenberg of Forbes.com called me this morning to ask my views on negative SEO. That's ways of trying to do nasty things to your competitors' websites to get them bounced out of Google. As Mike Grehan would say ...zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

I think there are so much more interesting things going on in other parts of the Internet space. Yet some of the SEO (ESO, or whatever) gurus still seem to want to discuss how many search engine spiders can stand on the point of a pin. Get a life.

The reality is that all these product-driven discussions about what is under the hood of the search engines really doesn't matter. What counts is the shiny exterior that really attracts the more attractive members of the opposite sex. That's called marketing. :)

#6 BillSlawski

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Posted 25 June 2007 - 11:17 PM

Are elements like (also) focusing on your local market, targeting niches (the "long tail"), using more than just one medium to convey your message (images, video, PPC, organics, etc) and getting current and prospective customers and friends involved (community, user generated content, etc) really new to marketing?



I consider those aspects of SEO. The search engines have changed since 1998, and so has SEO. Discussing a potential new client this afternoon, one of the first thoughts that entered my head was what a good opportunity it was to use something like Second Life to add an element to their marketing - even before any thoughts of what their website looked like, and how they appeared in search engines. And I considered that SEO.

The building blocks of effective search optimization will always be based on those two factors: technical indexability and community relevance. Effective keywords are simply the set of terms which the community on the whole tends to associate with information location. No matter how search functions, these basic concepts are critically important.



I was exploring a niche marketing area recently, inhabited by some pretty big players in the space with high priced media marketing, and was thrilled to see that one site, focusing primarily on very effective SEO practices, was blowing those high powered business away in search results for a very wide variety of terms. No one else came close in terms of "technical indexibility and community relevance." The site was very low budget, and very high value, when it came to what was provided to community members in terms of information and interactivity. And it was great to see.

I don't think that Universal search has changed that.

This question is totally Google-centric. There are more SEs than Google and there is much more to traffic acquisition than SE listings.


Yep. but in all fairness, I did ask the question in the Google forum. :naughty:

We are seeing similar behavior from the other search engines, especially in the Ask 3D approach.

In the real world SEO has long been seen as a subset of SEM; SEM is not new; marketing is not 'coming' to search, it is already here and well established.



The point behind SEO has never just been to drive lots of traffic to web sites - instead, it has been to provide meaningful traffic, to drive conversions, and to draw the attention of the right people for a site.

The reality is that all these product-driven discussions about what is under the hood of the search engines really doesn't matter. What counts is the shiny exterior that really attracts the more attractive members of the opposite sex. That's called marketing. :)


Know your audience? Know the objectives of a site, and how they should be presented? Understand what words and images and videos and other content will appeal to that audience? Understand the market, the medium, and the message? Figure out what gaps exist in the market, and what opportunities exist?

These things are as much effective SEO as tweaking an <h1> tag, or finding the right <title> for a page. They've always been.

#7 Ruud

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Posted 26 June 2007 - 08:05 AM

I've seen the "... is dead" discussion before but am honestly puzzled at how it can be framed in the context of universal search.

The argument, if I extract it well, goes a little something like this:

Would you rather click on an appealing image or video clip [...] or a text link? Or does that old-fashioned style of a crudely presented list of blue text links still seem so compelling?

[...] I can't imagine why I'd ever scroll down the page [...]

[...] It means we've finally reached point where better marketing counts -- and not H1 tags. I want my company's site pages to be found with links to audio/visual presentations and images and blogs and…well, everything that can provide the best user experience, ever.


However, to me Mike seems to make an argument for and not against SEO.

Unless universal search shows all of the 41 million+ results for Mike's Spider-Man 3 query, Mike's desire for his "company's site pages to be found with links to audio/visual presentations and images and blogs and..." calls for SEO.

A change in marketing message or marketing content does not negate the need for SEO. That is, if you desire to expose that content to searchers, of course. If not, then sure, go ahead, just put it out there and just sort of magically have everything you ever published appear everywhere on the first page of a universal search. Sure.

Thus, again, if you feel your boring blue link (<title> optimized) won't cut it and you would like to see one of your video's in the universal search result, then getting that video placed there is SEO. Understanding how video's rank for a certain query: SEO. Removing any technical problems the client's web developer might have created: SEO. Getting the links for that video to rank well: SEO.

End Searcher Optimization? In order to be in a position to be worried about it, you first need SEO. You cannot, or rather should not waste your time on, optimizing for the handful of end searcher you receive from all these queries which have you at #39,194...

Or is "personalization" then suddenly thrown on the table as a joker? Why? Personalization is not an issue. At best it is a different result set but one which still plays by and is constructed according to the same rules are other SERP's are.

"Personalization" is not the SERP underdog hero. An always logged in, web history enabled, personalized search for "kitchenaid appliances" will not suddenly show WeirdWaka's MySpace page which is regularly listed at #99,999,999 for that query...

If you want your site to appear for certain queries within the old first 10 blue links, the thing you do to make it so is SEO.

If you want your site to appear within the hot zone of the F area, you're working on SEO.

If you want to dominate a universal search using all your content, you cannot simply sit back and talk about how you will entice all those end searchers via clever marketing: you first need to get there -- and that process is called SEO.

Anything else is just magic thinking :)



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