Universal & Blended Search Opportunities at SMX Toronto

Blended search can seem like an exciting opportunity for many brands, but it’s important that they don’t invest in inappropriate channels – and that’s just what this session was about. During this sessions, Larry Bailin looked at how universal/blended search should fit into your sales model, and Barbara Coll illustrated just how many content opportunities there are available through blended search.

Moderator: Barbara Coll
Speaker: Larry Bailin

Larry Bailin on Universal & Blended Search Opportunities

According to Larry, for blended search to be an “opportunity,” you have to learn to blend sales & marketing knowledge with SEO. So you might not have to use all the tools available in blended search to promote any given product. After all, different channels and media are more or less appropriate for different kinds of products.

What worked before universal/blended search, if grounded in “purposeful optimization practices,” will still work now. Nothing has changed other than the “opportunity” to garner additional conversions from other media outside of a website.

Also, your website is still the most important asset in a blended search. After all, once users find your multi-media content, they are going to end up at their website. Other channels are openers, but your site is still the closer.

So you shouldn’t focus too much on what makes Google happy and lose sight of what makes the searcher happy. You want qualified leads, not just page views. So you shouldn’t recommend or use multi-media simply to take advantage of universal search.

Instead of looking at universal/blended search as an opportunity, you should look at it as a tool. Universal/blended search is a categorical process to be leveraged as needed and not just because it exists.

In a nutshell, if you keep things grounded in finding qualified customers, you’ll build strategies that will continue to be relevant as the technology continues to evolve. Successful online markeitng is more about sales and marketing strategies than it is about technological proficiencies and faulty tactics.

Larry then went on to emphasize that the secret to blended search is DIVERSITY. Having just a website is not enough. No business benefits from only one channel.

Universal search is about being where your customers are. When one marketing vehicle is failing to connect you to your customers, you want be wherever else they are.

The way to win, then, is to not think technology. Rather, think about what needs to be done and how the universal/blended search technology can help you.

Barbara Coll Brainstorms Universal / Blended Search Opportunities

According to Barbara, too much now shows up in SERPs for anyone to rely on regular organic results. Essentially, you shouldn’t deploy your web presence just for search engine, but should build your online business model around consumers. Barbara then went on to use the audience to brainstorm all the different kinds of content that can show up in a universal/blended search. These included:

  • video
  • twitter
  • images
  • HTML
  • web pages
  • maps
  • local
  • news
  • ratings from reviews
  • blogs
  • ads
  • social media profiles
  • Slideshare presentations
  • shopping results
  • stock ticker – Google finance
  • Travel info – flights
  • currency exchange
  • sports stats
  • lyrics
  • related search keywords/links
  • related search terms
  • paid ads
  • In universal search, true organic search results are almost below the fold – especially with local
  • PDFs
  • SWFs
  • Forums [discussions]
  • books
  • authors
  • site links

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