New Universal Search Tools for Google

Our keyword ranking software has always been able to distinguish between organic web results and universal results for images, videos, news and so on. But until now we have never shown you which keywords generate these universal results. From today, you will be able to use Analytics SEO to show you all the keyword opportunities for your sites to also rank for local listings (places), videos, images, news, shopping, real-time search and so on.

I’m currently at SES New York; so I’ll give you a brief overview of what you can do with the new tools, and I’ll add some more examples when I’m back in the UK at the end of the week.

Finding Universal Search Keyword Opportunities with Analytics SEO

Universal Search gives you tremendous opportunities to capitalise on your relevancy for a given range of keywords and to try and increase the exposure you are getting in the SERPs by helping you identify keywords phrases where you could get a video listed or news items and so on.

This has two main advantages:

1. If you already rank well for a keyword you can increase the chances of getting more listings on the page increasing the chances of your site getting clicked on (which in turn should help your rankings).

2. If you are struggling to rank well for a given keyword in organic web results you may be better off trying to get a video ranking well or optimise for Google News as well as playing the ‘long game’ to try and catch up on lost ground on the competition.

We’re not suggesting you give up on organic search; but you can find some nice short term gains whilst you invest in longer term natural optimization strategies to get your site to rank better in organic web results….with enough money and time you could in theory rank for anything relevant 😉

Google first started introducing blended search results back into 2007. For a trip down memory lane check out this original piece on Search Engine Land by Danny Sullivan (@dannysullivan).

Since then Google, and its imitators ;-), have continued to innovate and now for a given search phrase you will receive everything from websites, local business listings to videos, shopping, books, real-time social results and even recipes. The only difficulty, until today, was working out quickly which keywords you could optimise for to get your site listed in all these different sections.

Today we have launched a Universal Search Keyword Research Tool that does exactly this!  You can access it by selecting ‘Select Keywords’ task or clicking on ‘Optimise’ next to the Keyword Ranking tables on Tab 2.

This is an enhancement to our existing keyword ranking research tool and you can see this from today in Analytics SEO on the ‘Competitive Position’ tab. You will see data in this table once your scheduled keyword ranking job has completed. (If you really can’t wait to see it then please raise a support call and we’ll bump you up the queue).

New Universal Search component

There is a now a new component called ‘Universal Search’ which is designed to help you see at a glance where we have found opportunities for you to optimise your content to appear in more than the web listings on the SERPs.

How to identify Universal Search keywords to target in minutes

In this example above, you can see that for a number of keywords we are monitoring on this site we have found keywords where Google displays a video result and image results.

You can now check each keyword and we’ll tell you what types of results Google might be serving.  There are some significant differences, even with very similar queries.  For more information, check out this blog post about Universal Search.

(N/B: At the moment we are only checking Universal Results on Google in your primary market).

You can edit the Select columns to see any or all of the following:

More in-depth Universal Search keyword research

You can also go to great depths if you really want to sink your teeth into unearthing all the opportunities that exist for your site.

To do this simply click on the ‘Optimise’ button next to the ‘Monitored Keywords’ or the ‘Universal Search’ components on the ‘Competitive Position’ tab. They both take you to the same table.

I’d admit that this isn’t the prettiest of tables, but what it lacks aesthetically it makes up for in terms of utility. Remember, it’s purpose is to help you choose the right keywords for your SEO campaign.

By combining all the keyword information we can find into one customisable view, we can give you an unparalleled and comprehensive view of all the salient keyword data that you’ll need to make decisions about which ‘Campaign Keywords’ and/or ‘Keyword Groups’ you want to optimise for.

In this table you’ll find; Google Analytics organic keywords, organic and PPC visits, organic and PPC conversions, landing pages; keywords from your site and your competitors, manually added keywords, search volumes and competition levels; organic ranking data, universal ranking data, predicted organic visits and conversions were you to increase your organic rankings, branded and non-branded keywords, word count so you can sort long tail from head terms; and you get the chance to set or un-set ‘Campaign Keywords’ and ‘Keyword Groups’ so you can report on a set of keywords in one go.

We know it’s a lot of data….but after much agonising we felt the advantages of having all the data in one place outweighed the disadvantages of having a big ugly looking table ;-). We do of course reserve the right to change our mind should you all say we’ve got it wrong 😉

The table is fully customisable and filterable, so whether you are optimising for web results, video results, news, shopping, local or anything else you’ll be able to tailor the table to only show you what you need.

To help you get organised we have grouped the data elements together in sections; you can check a whole section or just an individual data element, it’s entirely up to you.

I’ll explain how to do this in a moment, with some other useful tips on how to use the ‘Select Keywords’ table; but first let me explain some key points:

Viewing the Search Results Page

With personalisation and localisation there is often much discussion between SEOs and their clients about what they are both seeing from their respective PC or mobile device.

We go to great lengths to try and present an un-biased, un-localised search result so that all interested parties can see what the search engine deems to be most relevant for a given keyword.

Now, in an attempt to make this clear to everyone; you can now click on any rank in the table to see the actual search results page that we found your keyword on in a nice pop-up modal box. If you were not ranked in the top 100 results when we checked, then we’ll simply show you the first page of results.

N/B: Please note we do not pull images in currently due to the way they are embedded in the page by Google – but will do this if there’s demand.

The enormous benefit of storing these results pages is that it helps everyone understand the different results generated by Google for very similar queries. This is why we have also added a column showing the order of results on page 1 for a given keyword search.

Order of Results

This shows you which order Google returns results in.  What’s evident is that the number of results can vary considerably from search to search.

This means that the number of web listings is not consistent, even across very similar queries; so it is definitely not safe to assume that you get 10 organic listings per page. More often than not it might be 10; but it might be 0, 7 or even as many as 15.

Depending on the keyword an organic rank of 7 may not even be on the first page of the SERPs having a big impact on click-thrus.

For this reason we now show you the Organic Rank and page; and the Universal Rank for every keyword.


What’s Organic Rank and What’s Universal Rank?

‘Universal Rank’ is the first result for your website in any category (web, video, images, local, etc, etc).

‘Organic rank’ is the highest web result for your website.

You may have instances where you rank first for a keyword with a video or Places listing rather than a traditional web listing.

Let’s look at an example; try searching Google for “Katy Perry”.

For “Katy Perry” in our Universal Search results table you will see the following ‘Order of Results’:

Web (2), Images (7), Video (4), Web (1), News (1), Real-time (3), Web (6)

So if you do the maths, you can see that there are only 9 web listings on page 1.

Over the next few days, I’ll be updating this post with some more information and examples about how to use these new Universal tools to find great keyword opportunities, so stay tuned!

By: Laurie OToole

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