Google Universal Search is a way that Google “blends” results from “vertical” search engines like Google Images or Google News into its web search listings. Google Launches “Universal Search” & Blended Results covers the launch of the system in May 2007; Google Universal Search Expands covers how it grew in 2008. Both provide good background for understanding the system today, as does Search 3.0: The Blended & Vertical Search Revolution. Below are articles with the latest developments with Universal Search.

Study: Google Universal Results Show Up For 85% Of All Searches: Videos In 65% & Maps In 1%

searchmetrics-study-featured SearchMetrics released a study on the penetration of Universal Search results in the Google search results. By Universal Search we mean the way Google “blends” results from “vertical” search engines like Google Images, Google Videos, Google Maps or Google News into its web search listings. The study shows that for all searches, 85% of them contain some element of universal search blend. The most common are video results, followed by images, then news, shopping and maps. Here is the breakdown: 1. Videos: appear for 65% of keywords 2. Images: appear for 40% of keywords 3. News [...]

Infographic: An Anatomy Of Google’s Dynamic Search Results Page

Do you know your SERP? That stands for Search Engine Results Page. In the case of Google, it can be pretty hard to keep up. Google has multiple SERPs, with some elements that may only appear if your search is deemed especially local, or shopping-oriented or perhaps if Google thinks it has a direct answer. The folks at Moz have done a fantastic job creating a "Mega-SERP" for Google, a single results page that includes many different types of elements that might appear. Here's the image, which they've kindly allowed us to share: Did you recognize all these elements? Be sure to visit the or [...]

Google News OneBox Card Style

google-news-logo-square Aaron Bradley spotted a new look for the Google News OneBox results, as you would see them in the Google web search results. The new design for the news results in the web search results look more like "Cards" that Google has been using within their Google Now and mobile views. Here is a screen shot from Bradley: The top image is the new card view, the middle image is the standard news result with an image and the bottom image is the standard news result without an image. I would not be surprised if we see Google continue to unify the interfaces among desktop and mobile. If you [...]

Google Testing Larger News Photos In Search Results

google-news-logo-square Google Operating System reports Google is testing showing larger photos in the News OneBox Google Web results page. Often, when you search for news related topics in, Google will show news results at the top, middle or bottom of the results. This is part of Google's universal search launch from years ago. Often, the news onebox result will show a small photo next to the news items. Now, it seems Google is testing showing larger news photos. Here is a screen shot from Google Operating System showing the larger version of the news OneBox photo: Here is what it typic [...]

Study: PLAs Buck Post-Holiday Trends For Google Shopping, Traffic Nearly Doubles in Q1

Google shopping traffic doubles CPC Strategy The momentum of Google's PLA program didn't slow after the holidays. After seeing Google Product Listing Ad traffic jump 82% in Q1 over Q4, CPC Strategy followed up its latest quarterly review of top CSEs with a closer look. The agency hadn't been surprised to see the 87% increase in PLA traffic in Q4 over Q3 as Google's pay-to-play program ramped during the holiday season. However, the huge traffic spike from Product Listing Ads that occurred after the holiday shopping rush did catch them by surprise. Bucking the typical trend of CSEs (and e-commerce in general), paid Google Shopping traf [...]

Google News Sources Grow 15% In 2012 & Continue To Climb With In The Lead

google-news-logo-square After seeing a 15 percent increase in Google News sources last year, a recent study conducted by SearchMetrics discovered that a majority of the News integrations displayed in Google Universal Search results are coming from AOL-owned Analyzing several hundred thousand keywords, the study found that made an appearance in the News integration results 4,352 times, followed by which made a total of 3,530 appearances. According to the SearchMetrics study, the top ten sites to appear in Google News integrations were: Go. [...]

Google Shopping Visibility Plunges In “Universal Search” Results; Video Stays Dominant

Google logo Findings from a new study show the visibility of Google Shopping in Google's "Universal Search" results dropped significantly after the search engine implemented a new paid inclusion model. Video content also dropped but still remained by far the most dominant source mixed with web page listings. Searchmetrics, a provider of search and social analysis software, conducted the study by analyzing millions of listings to evaluate Universal Search results for videos, images, maps, shopping and news. Google implemented Universal Search in 2007 to offer an improved search experience for users [...]

Google Shopping – The Balance Between Old & New

One of the most talked about changes introduced by Google on May 31, 2012, is the launch of a paid program from Google Shopping based on Product Listing Ads (PLA). Since its announcement, we have seen a huge change in shopping results. Google Shopping listings replace the current Google Product Search listings, which are part of the organic search listings. In this post, I will explain what Google Shopping is all about, how it affects retail merchants and outline steps to mitigate the impact and seize opportunity. The Old Model Since 2002, Google has been listing relevant products whe [...]

What Wins In Google Universal Search? Videos, Images & Google!

Universal Search Trend Percentage Searchmetrics has conducted a data analysis on what type of content appears most often in Google Universal Search results, as well as which sites are most visible in them. Video and image content wins, as does content hosted on Google's own properties. Universal Search Loves Video, Images The most revealing data from the study, which the company provided to us and which may appear on its site soon, is that having a video is one of the best ways of showing up in the top results at Google. The chart below shows up videos are by far the most found results in Google, with image content a di [...]

Official: Google Removes Auto-Background Feature

Confused about why Google was showing a picture on its home page today. Apparently, plenty of people were, some to the point of being upset. In reaction, Google's dropped the feature. Marissa Mayer, Google’s vice president of search products and user experience, confirmed the change via an update to the official Google blog post that originally announced the new feature: Last week, we launched the ability to set an image of users’ choosing as the background for the Google homepage. Today, we ran a special "doodle" that showcased this functionality by featuring a series of images a [...]

Meet The New Google Look & Its Colorful, Useful “Search Options” Column

After months of testing, Google is releasing a new look-and-feel for its search results today, a three column design that provides a permanent menu of search options and tools to help searchers refine their queries. Google also gains a freshly-updated logo along the way. The new user interface -- UI for the tech crowd -- places search options into a column on the left-hand side of the search results page. Search results themselves appear in the middle, in a wider column. Ads appear in the right column, though some ads continue to appear in the middle column above editorial picks: [...]

Google Showing Shopping Results Without Explicit Search Intent?

The tnooz blog reported that after searching for [hotels] off the Google home page, he was shown hotel room prices directly in the search results. Here is a screen capture: Now, we know Google was testing hotel prices in Google Maps via AdWords but these are prices directly in the organic results. How is this possible? If you look closely, you will see that the search results come from a shopping search filter that was set to on. Tnooz blog said that Google automatically set the user to the shopping search results, without the user requesting for this to be specifically on. Th [...]

Google Adds Universal Results To Suggest & Quick Scroll In Chrome

Google announced they added universal search results directly in Google Suggest and a "quick scroll" feature as a Chrome extension. Here is a picture of weather results, a form on Universal Search, directly in the Google Search box: I personally do not see it yet, but I am sure it will show up soon. The Quick Scroll Chrome extension will help you locate the keywords on the page you clicked on from the Google search results page. Here is a picture of how that looks: [...]

Google Mobile Search Adds Universal Flavor To Arabic & Hebrew Searchers

The Google Mobile blog announced that Arabic and Hebrew mobile searchers are now able to see universal results directly on their mobile devices. Although not related, this comes soon after Google Translated recently added 9 new languages. I know a bit of Hebrew, so I tried to test out the search results on Google Israel on my iPhone. Unfortunately, I did not see the same mobile friendly results, with universal search, on my iPhone. Maybe it was related to me searching on my iPhone or searching in the states, I don't know. What it should look like is: What I see on my iPhone: [...]

Report: A “Caffeine” Infusion Would Mean Ranking Changes On Google

Search and online marking firm 360i published findings from a small but structured test of how the "Caffeine" search infrastructure changes could affect results and ranking on Google. As Vanessa Fox wrote when Caffeine went public earlier this month, there apparently would be a number of changes in the ordering and content of results. As she observed in that post, "Google Caffeine will cause quite a kerfluffle in the web developer and search engine optimization world and many will dive in to try and figure out the changes." This is precisely what 360i has now tried to do. The company evalua [...]

The Next Decade: Can Google Stay On Top?

There's a feeling in the air of change -- from one era to another and, more precisely, from one type of media culture to another. The hearings on Capitol Hill yesterday on the "future of journalism" reflect this transition in which traditional media are under intense pressure and fighting for their lives in some cases. These changes are not simply being brought on by the recession but by the pace of technology development and the corresponding tectonic shifts in the consumption of media. Just as Microsoft was and is synonymous with the PC, Google has come to be synonymous with the internet [...]

Google Confirms & Talks About Expanded Local Results

In a blog post today, Google confirms what we and others reported last week -- they're now showing local results on non-local queries. Google says they're guessing the searcher's location, "in most cases" by using your IP address. As I pointed out last week, this isn't always the most accurate solution. And, as Greg Sterling pointed out, Google will eventually replace IP-targeting with improved triangulation/GPS right in the web browser/device you're using. Meanwhile, Google Software Engineer Jim Muller replied to the questions we emailed last week when I wrote the original article on th [...]

Google Showing Local Results On Non-Local Queries

Google is rewriting the local search space. They're now showing local search results -- a map, business listings, and more -- even when searchers use generic terms that don't include a local word. This was spotted in London last week, written about on Saturday by a California florist, and spread widely yesterday when Mike Blumenthal wrote it up on his blog. This has potentially huge implications for searchers, local business owners, big businesses with a local presence, and search marketers, too. As I wrote on my own blog yesterday, Google is changing the game where local search is concerne [...]

Google Expands AdWords Fav Icon Test

Earlier this month we reported on Google's test of favicons in Germany and Poland in AdWords. Subsequently I was alerted by someone in email that this was happening in the UK as well. Dave Naylor noticed it today in the UK and has some screenshots. I was unable to find any conducting various searches on In addition Blastmodo found them in AdWords in the US: Source: Blastmodo Previously Barry also noticed favicons being tested in organic results. So why is Google doing this? A cynic would respond it's to boost CTRs, which the Checkout icon has reportedly done in ma [...]

Google Tests New Maps In Search Results

Mike Blumenthal reports seeing Google test a new type of map within the search results listings. He said he is only able to trigger this map to show using Firefox with the Google Toolbar installed. So his theory is that Google is testing some geolocation technology in the Firefox toolbar. I personally cannot reproduce it, but I trust Mike is seeing this. Here is a screen capture of one such result: Others reportedly have seen this type of map embedded within specific listings a month or so ago. It would make sense for Google to show maps in some cases, when you are looking up a spe [...]

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