Future of Search, Universal Search and a Brands Responsibility to SERPs

  • 1
  • September 28, 2009
Rishi Lakhani

Rishi Lakhani

    Peter Da Vanzo just posted “SEO, Where is it going?”. Coming from one of the spearheads of the industry, the question alone was enough to encourage me to read the piece.

    One of the lines that made me really think was “As if there is ever one “right” answer.” This was pretty much in direct response to a Tech Crunch Interview by Eric Schmidt, to quote a quote:

    So I don’t know how to characterize the next 10 years except to say that we’ll get to the point – the long-term goal is to be able to give you one answer, which is exactly the right answer over time.

    Aaron went on to suggest how the various Google SERPs properties such as rich snippets may over time discourage users to click through to the content creators site. This is where I branch off. I don’t know the long term future of SEO, what it will be and how it will change. And I don’t really want to speculate. It’s an unfolding drama that I am willing to wait out.

    But, I am interested in the right here and right now. What is SEO right now? Is it about ranking? For set keywords at the highest possible positions? I think not. It’s about a blend of strategies, and one of the most important ones Brands should be really focussing on is page share. The writing has been on the wall from the first time Marissa Mayer blogged about it.

    Currently a range of ranking positions exist on the first page of SERPs, including but not limited to:

    • Video Results
    • Image Results
    • News Stories
    • Blog Results
    • Book Results
    • Map Results

    These are further enhanced by the use of  Rich Snippets, Site Links, Search in Search Box, Inline links, related searches, to name a few. Add to the mix Adwords, Adwords Enhanced site links and Google Base results.

    Where does that leave a brand?

    I recall a few years ago I attended SMX and was in a session presented by Jon Myers, who discussed the use of Search Engine Results Pages as a brands landing page. This was in late 2007, the same year Google introduced more results in SERPs. Its late 2009, and google isn’t letting up. More recently we were treated to Photo layers in Map results.

    In a very short and unsatisfactory way, I conclude, SEO right now, at least at the Brand level, is about delivering all the brands content on the brand query, with the maximum possible page share.

    After all, there isn’t, one correct answer to a brand query. But there is room to guide the searcher to the right content. 

    You worry about your sites landing pages, ever wonder what you are losing to Universal search properties that aren’t under your control?