This session looks at the state of universal search today, and how to leverage different types of content to gain maximum advantage.
Moderator: Anders Hjorth (AH), CEO Europe Middle East & Africa, Outrider
Q&A Moderator: Dixon Jones (DJ), Managing Director, Receptional LTD
- Rob Kerry (RK), Head of Search, Ayima
- Rob Sheppard (RS), Senior UK Product Manager, Ask Jeeves
- Ian Strain-Seymour (IS), Social Commerce Strategist / Client Partner, Bazaarvoice
- Shmulik Weller (SM), CEO, SundaySky
(The below are Tim’s notes from the “Leveraging Digital Assets For Maximum SEO Impact” session at SMX Advanced. They have been posted during the session and will be tidied up later – more SMX coverage here.)
(Product manager at Ask Jeeves)
- Blend results if they know they have a good quality result. Freshness appears to be a key driver for Ask Jeeves.
- Example “How to mend a bicycle puncture” – video would be a good result. [Lesson - "How to" phrases good to target for video]
- Search engines use relatively few sites (YouTube etc) so its not good enough just to have digital assets, need to make sure they are published in right places too.
- Users like Universal Search because: more compelling, more choice, become expected standard. Ask Jeeves working to make blended more prominent, suspects other search engines are too
- “It is easier to get ranked if you have Universal style content” but most share the content on main platforms
- Yahoo Answers content is viewed as a blended result – [target]
- The Basics of SEO for Universal:
- Have different types of content
- Social Media Presence (bring feeds into site)
- RSS & Blogs
- Video: YouTube, Vimeo, VideoJug
- Press Releases
- Have different types of content
- AJ are looking to increase types of content. Twitter etc becoming mandatory. Focus on long tail of universal search. Believe that answers are the future of universal search (“true Q&A content” – Yahoo Answers). Search engines love structured data such as FAQ and help pages.
Exploiting Voice of Customer for SEO
- Universal search may represent an opportunity to achieve ranks with much less effort
- “Master the micro & inject it into the macro” – e.g. understand how to rank in Product Search, then can see your results in main rankings
- Voice of Customer = authentic conversations between you & your customer, customers with each other, customers with suppliers.
- Look at where you are strong – if have lots more video than competitors, good place to start.
- Product Search
- customer reviews, Q&A, blog posts, comments. Can give you additional keywords, can syndicate the content, Use microformats
- Realtime Search – push existing content out to Twitter. Dell Deals example – put out 1 to 2 products a day – worked because separate Twitter feeds to increase targeting. Started injecting different content (not just deals, also reviews) Let Google do the hard work.
- Video – Often the oldest and youngest demographics will comment by video
- Twitter was slowing page load down. Is it better to have the additional content or the quicker site. ISS: go for faster download
Using Video to Optimise Reach
- Video is more engaging on the results page so will often get higher click through rates than a standard result.
- 68% of top retailers now using video
- Video can improve the ranking of a site that has initial rankings
- Three pronged strategy
- In Page Video Mark Up
- Example: Overstock.com – video embedded into product page. Page needs to have titles descriptions etc to help search engine understand what video is about. Need to embed it in a way that is – use standard embeds (could be in tab or light box but must be part of initial load of page)
- Facebook share – can specify that you have a video in page. There is other video meta data that you can add too.
- Website Level Optimisation
- Video must have its own landing page with unique url
- Have as many vids as possible (allows a long tail approach)
- Keep videos up to date
- Have a designated video section (more a usability tip than SEO)
- Proactive Steps
- MRSS (Media RSS)
- XML site map for Google to include video url, website url, meta data and compelling thumbnails
- In Page Video Mark Up
- Question: Can a YouTube video help standard organic result? An on-site video definitely helps. Not sure if including YouTube into page gives boost (YouTube experimenting with allowing you to link back into yoursite)
- believes it is for everyone, not just news sites.
- Short term solution to getting into top 10 of most competitive
- Get good click through rates because of thumbnail
- Likely help other rankings into the long term (possible connection with personalised search, but also adding content)
- URL format
- unique url per article
- have a unique number on end of each url (not date)
- Images are important for getting into news (use standard sizes 300×250 or 180×150). Make alt tag same as headline
- Need to 3 different identities to have posted within the last 7 days. Fake names OK!
- Author names need to viewable in article page and ideally included in Google News XML feed
- Need to submit sites to Google news
- Question: What happens if get rejected from Google News: Be Billy Big balls about going back to the editors.
- Benefit of linking directly to image? RK: Not seen any additional benefit over linking to page
- Microformats – is there a risk of people not clicking through to your page? View that consumer will click through – likely a controversial answer. RK: SEOGadget.co. uk has good guides to microformats. Concerns about people putting wrong prices in to gain click throughs. Remember that universal search increases other touch points other than just website visits e.g. drive footfall.
- Media RSS Top Tips? Supported by most search engines but use Google sitemaps for Google.
- Number of views or reputation of video poster on YouTube have impact on Google? Probably only works when appear in “Most Popular” videos. Alternative view is that likely to have impact – make sure they are reviewed well. Very spamable
- Levels of competition before video will be included? Ask Jeeves view is that degree of editorial control combined with strong algorithmic signals. Has to be enough videos before likely to be added to blended.
- Add video to separate page or existing page? Existing unless good reason not to.
- ID on end of url necessary? Yes. Separate out company news (make it blog) and then make industry news into news content
- Flash video players to get indexed if you don’t want to use YouTube? No specific recommendations. Search engines need to be able to validate that it is a player, so use a leading one.
- Using different video hosting (e.g. YouTube and Vimeo) simultaneously. Good or bad idea? Multiple for the views but if main goal is conversion, then include on site. YouTube monopoly is a changing landscape. “Rankings affected by same factors as main results”. Divided opinion as to how to do it for SEO.
- Advantages of Social Media profiles? RK: Main benefit is reputation management, not much in the way of link benefit due to no follow.
- Fake ratings etc. How effective? Sub Urban Profit as an example of a service that does this but Digg seemingly on top of it. Better services are those who have genuine love of content – more expensive but lower risk.
- How might you prevent brand showing up out of context in real time search? If you have enough accounts can flood Twitter.