The evolution of internet Search has changed the way humans interact, shop, and gather information. We rely on several Search algorithms to provide us with the most relevant information as quickly as you can blink an eye. Several concepts make Search easy for users and create opportunities for businesses, such as Search rankings, Vertical Search Results (VSR), and Universal Search Results/Blended Search. Each has changed the landscape to the way we view the Search Engine Results Page (SERP) and offer a new array of opportunities.
The ranking of a website by a search engine starts with identifying and evaluating the site details. This practice is referred to as crawling and conducted by automated bots tasked by the search engine. Once this operation is complete, the site is indexed within the search engine and ranked with a degree of relevances and importance. The high-level on and off page attributes that affect ranking are the links, content, social metric, site architecture, brand metric, and site traffic/query data. Links are known to help prioritize the crawling effort and influence the overall ranking of a site. The Domain-level Link Authority and Page-level link metrics are two of the most important factors for ranking. Domain-level Link Authority is the quality and number of websites that point to your entire site, while Page-level is the number of sites that lead to a single page. The value of links lies within the quality, numbers, and content. There are two categories of content: quality and how a site is organized. Quality of content ties in keywords, application of keywords, followed links, and no-follow links. The organization of a page tells us how well optimized the site is (title, content, images, etc.). The site architecture plays into the quality of the site as seen by the user and search engines. If Google or BING cannot load your page promptly, then they will likely skip over and Crawl the next website inline. Social metrics are the association of your website on social platforms, through shares, likes, and all other social attributes. Brand metric is how well your brand name is socialized (brand recognition). Site traffic/query data is an evaluation of user traffic; more specifically, how long they stay and interact with the site. Time spent by the user on the website can directly show how relevant the data is to the user. Each of these features will likely hold some weight in the future, however, as technology improves and the uses of the internet changes, the masses will undoubtedly shift and new items brought to the table.
Vertical Search Results provide users with snippets of information quickly, attempting to be relevant to the user at the same time. According to The Art of SEO, by Eric Enge “the vast variety of Vertical integration into Search results means that for many popular queries you can expect to receive significant amounts of information in the SERP’s themselves. Engines are competing by providing more relevant results, and more targeted responses to queries that they feel are best answered by Vertical results, rather than web results.” The landscape of SERP’s has become more user-friendly but more challenging for Search Engine Optimization (SEO). For websites and content marketing firms, the quick results take away from the organic results leading users to choose the snippets of information instead of driving traffic to the site. While it presents challenges, there are also opportunities. Integrating into the Vertical Searches, you could influence the bases of content, potentially driving more users to the site. As the Vertical Search Results continues to improve and integrate into our daily quests, we could see more emphasis on local business and more of a blended Search mix to SEO.
According to The Art of SEO, by Eric Enge, Universal Search/Blended Search results is “the notion of integrating images, videos, and results from other Vertical Search properties directly into the main web Search results.” Before this enhancement, a user would have to select a Vertical Search Engine to see specific results for videos or images. You now get a combination of segmented data with detailed information regardless of the classification (pictures or videos) up front. Combined Search results equate to better user experience and create opportunity from an SEO standpoint as more variety shows up in the general web Search.
In combination rankings, Vertical Search Results and Universal/Blended Search Results have improved the quality of Search drastically for users. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is an ever-changing environment that if done correctly, offers a significant amount of opportunity for businesses of all sizes.
- Enge, Eric, Spencer, Stephan and Stricchiola, Jessie C. The Art of SEO. CA: OReilly, 2015. Page 1-115, specifically Page 35 and 90