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June 23, 2010

Outside the Bot: Blended Search Strategy — SEM Synergy Extras

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I can always count on Twitter for something to tickle my fancy. Yesterday @kennyhyder put a smile on my face by sharing a video that satisfies my infatuation with robots and getting jiggy with it:

dog with 10 commandments
This pup takes commands very seriously!
CC BY 2.0

I think we can all agree that robots are the coolest. Now that I think about it, I think they’re likeable for a lot the same reasons as puppies. They’re smart, but a little bit dumb, in an endearing kind of way. They’re super cute, which is nifty considering you can almost see yourself in them. And they exist to do your bidding — sit, do a jig, pour me a drink. What? Your dog can’t do that? It’s time to learn some new tricks, pooch! ;) [The big difference is you can’t cuddle robots. If they ever make a cuddly robot, I’m doomed. —Susan]

But seriously, robots are awesome and all, but there’s a reason it’s called “artificial” intelligence. Certainly we rely on technology; not only does our industry optimize the land brought to us via wires and tubes, but we also use technological tools to get these jobs done. But with our heads down in tech-ware, both hard and soft, we may sometimes need a reminder to come up for air. Take a breather with me and consider an area of search where chips and codes are no replacement for squishy gray matter.

SERP-Specific Evaluations for Blended Search Strategy

Today’s SEM Synergy features an eye-opening interview with the SEO Dojo’s David Harry. Dave explains the pressing need for a blended search strategy as Universal Search results are now displayed for 25 percent of Google search queries. That means a quarter of the time, SEOs are missing out on SERP real estate if blogs, videos, images, news, social and other blended search categories aren’t considered.

Dave suggests a “SERP-out” approach for developing a blended search strategy:

Just like we’ve always looked at the page when we had the ten links, now we’ve got so many more things. […] Instead of looking at your tool that’s telling you my rankings are here and I’m ranked sixth and whatever, if you’re not actually visiting the search result page and looking at the make-up of it, the actual real estate — [for instance,] there’s a big 10-box of e-comm here — well, your six is so far below the fold that it’s really lost value.

And you could be sitting in third place and if something of a blended or Universal pops up then once again it’s pushing your third place ranking down to fourth — well, [the tool] still says third but you’re still below the fold so you’ve lost it. So [for a SERP-out approach] you’re looking at the actual SERP, looking at the real estate, where it’s being assigned and how they’re doing it.

Tools and technology are of course the meat and potatoes of the business we’re in, but as SEOs we’re offering our clients more than that. We’re offering the brain power that can visualize a strategy that works in a specific SERP environment as well as the ability to execute it and power some necessary tools to simplify the process along the way.

In fact, just when you thought it wasn’t possible, it turns out we’re even cooler than robots!

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5 responses to “Outside the Bot: Blended Search Strategy — SEM Synergy Extras”

  1. Dave writes:

    Thanks a ton as always V – good to chat and spread the Gospel of the Geek with ya!! Oh and nice touch with the Videos in this post… tee hee

  2. Chris Miller writes:

    A blended search thought – if you’re a text-based information source and think you might have trouble competing in a blended results page, find a niche that isn’t media heavy in which first place will mean something (it’ll probably be easier to rank for, too).

    If you (or your client) does have an excuse to get into video though, now looks to be the time to do it. And of course it’s always good for local searches to show up on the map, but that is a given, right?

  3. Virginia Nussey writes:

    Talking to you was insightful as expected, Dave :) Thanks for sharing the word with our listeners. Let us know when you’ve got your own megaphone on WMR!

  4. Virginia Nussey writes:

    A very astute blended search thought – and exactly the kind of thought Dave and I hope to generate discussion about. Certainly there are multiple ways to go about leveraging blended search, though the first step is recognizing the need, followed by evaluating the space. Yours seems a productive approach, Chris. :)

  5. Man Ray writes:

    If those robots we’re wearing tutus, would Susan consider cuddling them?:) Well, it really is staggering to notice the we now live in a world where technology can provide us with possibilities. Possibilities that were thought preposterous and downright silly in the past are now in front of us. It really is sad that there are times when you will sense that the human touch is sometimes taken for granted, or even unnoticeable in some cases of SEO. But I digress, Chris’ approach does seem to be productive. Usually, people forget the fact that they can leverage on combination, rather than just concentrating on either text or social media. Thanks for the video of Swan Lake, it’s refreshing to watch classical art from time to time. And it just made my day.



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