As content providers and online advertisers, we must be ever vigilant toward the changes constantly occurring online. One of the most important of these is your search engine presence. Search engines such as Google and Yahoo! are continually making changes to their process to create more relevant search results for the end user.
For quite some time, Google has made vertical, or specialized, searches available for their users. Some of Google’s current vertical searches bring up specific pages for Web, images, news, blogs, books and maps. The problem with these verticals is public awareness. Most people either don’t use them or simply don’t realize that these options exist.
One of the biggest changes to Google’s search is what is known as a universal search. This takes Google’s current search verticals and integrates them into one global search results page. Over time, this will help Google supply their users with more valid results across many types of content.
If I do a search for a regional bakery and add in the name of my city, I will not only get a link to their official website but Google Maps will also display all of their physical locations in my area. If I search for the same bakery but don’t enter my city, I will get different results. The company’s main website will be the top result, but now Google Stocks will pull in real-time stock quotes. Other searches may include headlines from popular news services or videos from services such as Google Video or YouTube.
The rules have changed for marketers looking to be found online. And more opportunities exist now to improve your results.
In the past, search engine optimization has mostly been about a company’s Web presence. Now you need to look at using more of a holistic approach; providing content across multiple channels such as videos, RSS feeds, blog postings and news listings. And along with creating content for Google’s search verticals; you should embrace social media sites like Facebook and MySpace as well as social networking sites such as Digg, StumbleUpon, Reddit and more by submitting our content on a regular basis.
Now more than ever, companies must become content creators in order to increase their profile online. This is an exciting change that creates new opportunities to create awareness of our brands and offerings using new methods, without having to retrain the consumer.