Blended Search Celebrates its first Birthday

I have just finished listening to Chris Sherman on the SMN webcast, talking about the advantages of blended search ( a year after it was launched) and I thought “What the hack? Why not summarizing it for you guys?”
so here it goes:

Blended Search – Definition
Blended search, also known by the name of “Universal Search” or “Search 3.0”, is incorporating results from non-web sources (like books, videos and images) into the regular web search results.

What is it Good For?
The sources that we use to get information from are just the same, but we use them more than we did before the launch of blended search. Searchers no longer need to use the search engine’s different tabs (news, images, etc) – they get the relevant results for their search inquiry directly on the web results page. In other words – if “Vertical Search” was alive somewhere in the past, I guess there’s no doubt it’s starting to die now.ūüė¶

Search marketers and businesses’ websites have more seats on first results page to “fight over”. Before “blended search” was born, websites could be shown on only 2 out of 10 results per page. Today, one can be shown on the same two seats from the past (seats that are reserved for the website’s pages, usually the homepage and some inner page) but also on other seats taken for social sites such as youtube (video results) or news sites (press releases).
Basically,¬†one can be shown on most if not all of first pages’ results (take Britney Spears for example).

Searchers are open to more sources of information otherwise they might not know about. Think about your old uncle – if not for the blended search, will he still be sending you funny YouTube videos? Moreover, the blended search makes the all process of searching much easier. looked for an IPhone and got a video result among others? With Google’s “Universal Search” results you don’t need to jump to the video site in order to¬†watch it – Just click on the “Watch video” link (marked in red at the following example):

What is it Sad for? 
Less precision: Vertical search resulted in better search results, since it was focused on specific search field (video, news, images etc). Blended search returns a wide range of results that are more speculative than accurate (in terms of what the searcher was searching for). This is clearly demonstrated by¬† the following screen shot taken from Chris Sherman’s webcast:

No more “good old only web results”:¬† Google is no longer showing only web results. Even if you use the “web” tab in the search process,¬†you’ll get the blended search results which means web sites, videos, images, news sources and alike. This¬†lost of “only web feature” is quite sad, since there are still lots of people who’d like to get these results with no extras…¬†

Bad blogs and products results: Search engines don’t index these two very well, so blended search in this term is quite poor.¬†

So what will Blended Search bring?
Better and much more sophisticated statistic tools to track conversion rates out of different search results, such as video which is un-trackable at the moment.
РBetter and much more sophisticated SEM efforts: Traditional SEO will be nothing but complemental, while search marketing will focus on viral video, creating juicy (and highly optimized) press releases and so on.

What do you say?
Do you see the future of blended search differently?

Feel like reading more about blended search? I bet you’ll enjoy the following:
Blended search increases your visibility ( April 2008 )
Blended search results study by iprospect ( April 2008 )
Google’s ranking advice in blended search¬†( February 2008 )
Optimizing for blended search ( January 2008 )
Search 3.0 by SearchEngineLand ( Nov 2007 )

4 Responses to Blended Search Celebrates its first Birthday

  1. kwegner says:

    This is a pretty good overview of what universal search is and how it has (and will) change the search world. One point I think differently on is that traditional SEO will be more than just complimentary.

    By incorporating relevant results from multiple mediums you only increase the usefulness of SEO. What will change, though, is what the SEO experts will have to do to keep up. This will result in an SEO focus on sites such as Flickr and YouTube, as well as optomizing PDF’s and other documents available for download. As Google becomes smarter and returns more relevant search results, the SEO expert’s job will be to create and maintain more of that relevant content, no matter what media it is shown through.

    I for one am excited about where search, and SEO specifically, are going.

  2. Bill Muller says:

    Thanks for your great summary of Chris Sherman‚Äôs webcast on Blended Search One Year Later ‚Äď which we at iProspect sponsored. Perhaps your readers would like access to the iProspect Blended Search Results Study that was referenced within the webcast? If so, they are free to do so — or access the findings of any other iProspect search engine marketing study — with our compliments (don’t even have to fill out a form).

  3. seosos says:

    * Kwegner – You are definitely right! (“SEO expert’s job will be to create and maintain…no matter what media it is shown through”). This is the reason why I still can’t get enough of SEO. You need to keep up with the world of search’s changes. Yam!
    p.s
    We met on Sphinn, right?ūüôā

    * Bill – Thank you Bill! Iprospect study is truely valuable.

  4. kwegner says:

    Yes sir. You commented on an article of mine titled The Top 12 SEO Firefox Extensions.

    I think you and I are on the same page with SEO…my passion for it keeps growing day by day because it is so dynamic, while most people get frustrated by such a fluid field.

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