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Universal Search

"Universal Search" is a feature of Google search which pulls data from multiple data sources to display on the search engine result pages (SERPs). This includes videos, images, news headlines, and local search engine results. Universal Search is designed make search results more user friendly, broadening the results from simple text only, so that users can view all the cross-media search results on one page.


Images include anything from a submission form button to an actual photo image. When adding images, it is necessary to optimize your images by employing the "alt" attribute. This allows useful text to be provided in the event that the image does not load properly. To further understand how this is done, refer back to section on Image Optimization for an in-depth look at this function.

Example of images as part of Universal Search Example of images as part of Universal Search


In Universal Search results, videos have an approximately 41% higher click-through rating than their plain text counterparts, meaning that this area should be a key focal point in marketing.

Basic Video SEO

  • Ensure the quality of your video content does well enough to rank in the first place. (Note: Nearly 100% of videos returned in universal searches also ranked on the first place of their native platform, so if your video is not yet ranking well on its home page, it is likely you will not rank in a universal search.)
  • Host your video on the most frequented platforms, such as Youtube.

Keyword Do's and Don'ts

  • DO NOT USE transactional keywords (such as 'buy', 'cheap', 'free' and 'sale' etc.) or navigational keywords (such as brand descriptions, names, site URLS, etc) as these tend to signal a more spammy quality.
  • DO USE informative words like 'how to', 'learn', 'what is' and 'history of' as these types of terms aim to address a question or solve a problem and tend to rank better.

Local Business Listings

Local business listings (on Google it is called Places for Business) allow businesses to have a presence which stands out from the rest of the organic results. This distinction is based on many factors that Google takes into consideration (e.g., if the search term indicates an intention by the searcher to find a local business).

Example of Local Business Listings in Google Example of Local Business Listings in Google

The Local Business listing not only includes a link connecting to the homepage of the business, but it also makes information accessible to search engines, such as user ratings, business location, categories of business, etc.

There are many factors that Google takes into consideration, most of which are not publically known, when assigning rankings to local results. One such factor is the rating that a business or business location has received from Google users--naturally the better the reviews, the better the rankings (generally). Google (and other search engines to a certain extent) utilize other signals such as local citations, and proximity to the city center when it comes to local rankings.

One way to further help rankings is to have positive reviews and star ratings from clients who rank the company on Google. Google also considers rating from other sites such as Yelp, which also increases ranking.

Google News

In order for a company's site to be included in Google News searches, they must apply by submitting their site for consideration. Google has a list of guidelines suggested for companies to review before submitting their website for inclusion. Websites are accepted based on the content of their news reporting, the frequency and authority with which they publish articles, and the number of posts and users, etc. In addition, there are technical guidelines that reflect whether or not the site is user-friendly, and whether Google's computer algorithms can crawl the site. To learn more, please visit the Google News inclusion requirements.

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