Universal Search Optimisation – The Essential Tips

March 10, 2011 | by

You may have noticed a change in your Google search results recently. Suddenly, it’s not just a list of links to websites that’s appearing, but, depending on your search query, it could be videos, images, shopping results, news, blogs or maps. Suddenly, you’ve got a whole lot more to compete with on Google’s first page! So what can you do, SEO-wise, to get that elusive first page ranking? The answer is, think outside the box!

Fortunately I have a few handy checklists for optimising for Universal Search. Here’s a summary of these checklists so that you can make sure all your bases are covered.

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Checklists for optimising for Universal Search

Optimising for video – It doesn’t matter whether your video’s hosted on YouTube, Vimeo, Google Videos or somewhere else, you still need to be thinking SEO.

  • Use original text that is unique to each version of your video online
  • Titles and Descriptions should be unique and keyword rich
  • Build internal links. Don’t underestimate the power of internal links on video-sharing sites. These can be just as valuable!
  • Be cheeky. Piggyback on popular videos within your niche!
  • If on your own site, embed your videos on relevant, keyword rich pages
  • Interact with others who are posting/interested in similar videos.
  • Use tags to increase your chances of being found
  • Ensure your full URL is visible before the 140 character cutoff point in the description
  • Be bossy! Give people a call to action, and tell them to comment on or rate your video.

Optimising for images – Images are appearing more and more frequently in the search results, so make sure to optimise for these too

  • File names should be descriptive and keyword rich.
  • Use Alt Tags. Research has recently shown that Alt tags may carry a little more weight in the algorithm than had been thought. Make yours – yep, you guessed it – keyword rich!
  • Context context context! Embed your image on a relevant page, surrounded by keyword rich text
  • Create internal and external links with keyword rich anchor text
  • Ensure you have turned on “Image Search” in your Webmaster tools
  • If you’re stuck, take a look at Google Image Labeler. It might give you some ideas

Optimising for Local Search – Again, this is something which is appearing with ever-greater frequency, particularly for businesses. Very useful and often crucial.

  • Be sure to have a (local) fixed address
  • Have a local phone number (use any freephone numbers as secondary contacts)
  • Be consistent with address and phone number(s) across the internet
  • List your address on each page of your site
  • Optimise your site for local searches
  • Make sure you have a completed listing in Google (including photos and all other information)
  • Make sure that you are listed in local directories

These checklists are by no means fully comprehensive, but they should give you an idea of the things you need to consider to ensure that Google’s Universal Search doesn’t leave you behind!


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