Universal Optimization: The Vertical Advantage

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Everyone paying attention should now know about the rollout of Google’s Universal SERP. With the introduction of the new search results format, new opportunities and challenges present themselves depending on the website’s business model and goals.

In this entry I’m going to discuss some examples of how sites can effectively use Google’s new search format to oust the competition with a greater share of the SERP.

Real Estate:
There are two Google vertical products that are integrated with the SERP for a user’s search query on a local real estate agent based on the new Universal format, Google Maps and Google Housing Search. So, combined in this SERP there could be up to four ad mediums to optimize, Google’s organic listings, pay-per-click advertising, Google Maps and Google housing search.

Example (Maps): Search Google.com for a real estate agent in your home town. I’m from Traverse City, Michigan, so I’m searching “traverse city real estate agent”. Below is the result I get.

Screenshot of the SERP with the query

If optimized well for organic search, pay-per-click listings, and Google Maps a real estate agency has the clear advantage over the competition allowing the searcher easy access to both your website and the physical location of the business. This example would also be applicable for most brick-and-mortar businesses only interested in geo-targeted, local traffic such as restaurants.

Example (Housing Search): Now change the query to “traverse city real estate” or “traverse city homes”. This time the first listing isn’t for Google Maps or an organic listing, but Google’s Housing Search tool.

Just as with Google Maps, I’m sure you can see the value of being listed in the Google Housing Search. If the searcher doesn’t opt for using the housing search to find your listing, he/she will either click on your well optimized paid or organic listing.

These same concepts will also hold true for e-commerce sites, social networking sites, blogs and lead generation sites using other Google search products such as Google Product Search, Local, News, Images, Video, or Blog Search.

If you follow basketball, a searcher can be compared to an offensive possession. Getting offensive rebounds is just like giving your site multiple listings in the SERP. The more chances you have to score per “possession” or per “search query”, the more likely you will be to attract the click and score a new customer.

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