What is Blended Search?

What is Blended Search?

Blended Search Optimization will be one of the most important areas of focus for  savvy website owners in 2011. If you have not yet started optimizing for blended search, start now.

With the release of Universal Search, Google was the first major search engine to delve into blended search results. ASK quickly stepped in with the very cool ASK 3-D results, but it continues to be Google that leads the way when it comes to blended search results.

So what are blended search results. Simply put, blended search results are those results that are not the typical blue link and description that we have traditionally seen on a Search Engine Results Page (SERP). Blended results consist of:

website results

news results

video results

image results

blog results

book results

and more

In fact we found examples of 20 types of blended search results.

The evolution of search –

Search 1.0 – keyword matching an Boolean logic, the first generation of search engines. Was easy to optimize for and easy to spam.

Search 2.0 – link analysis and linking popularity features of the algorithms. A link to a site was treated as a “vote of authority” for a given page, rankings were determined as a result. The results of the top 10 links were selected from an index of billions of pages. SEO became imperative.

Search 3.0 – Blended Search – other types of content, articles, news and vertical searches such as images and videos.

Google has taken a conservative approach with blended search. For some queries Google restricts the number of blended results that is displayed. They do this so that they do not alienate their existing users. This has made it difficult to do a pure “Web Search” on Google. Google has now turned to a more speculative approach to serving up results.

Google has moved from the old “one-box” results to blended results featuring news, images, videos etc.

Current SEO techniques are not going away, but website owners will need to apply best practices for optimizing the various types of content for blended search.   Some examples –

Images should include descriptive alt text, filenames and keyworded text

Images in blended search are most likely to for products, people or places

News releases should include links and included in Google News Search.

Optimize news release content as you would a normal webpage

Optimize for local search (if you have a local business)

Ensure that your local information is accurate, timely and up-to-date

Include tons of location based content on your website

With video, include rich and descriptive information about your video

Use descriptive text on the page where the video is embedded

Include the URL to your site within the video

Blended Search offers an opportunity to convey your content to your audience through various formats.

Blended Search will continue to evolve, but it has already improved the search experience.  Universal Search is strictly about organic results. It has not had an impact on paid search as of yet.

Leave a Reply