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I had the opportunity to go to the Search Marketing Expo (SMX West) in Santa Clara, California last week. Here are some notes I jotted down during the session: The Blended Search Revolution. For further reading, I’ve found other resources covering this topic here and here.

SMX West – The Blended Search Revolution
Moderator: Vanessa Fox
Speakers:
David Bailey, Senior Staff Engineer, Google
Sean Suchter, Yahoo!
Raju Malhotra, Search Management Team, Microsoft

Dave’s up first. Part of the Search Quality Team. Universal Search to Google – “organizing the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.” Universal for us = one search box. “From there, you can find anything.” One of the biggest & best universal search results – video. And most aren’t from Youtube or Google Video. Keywords that are media identifiers (like photograph, video, etc.) when used in a search query act as a trigger to show those universal results. Entire catalog of scanned books are now available in search results. Take advantage of specialized results:

1) Publish high-quality, well-captioned images
2) Create a Google Video Sitemap
3) Update biz listings
4) Submit feed to Google Product Search
5) Create a high-quality company blog (very interesting here one here…)

Sean is up now. New “one search” is vastly different than Yahoo!’s historic “static” results pages. “Jump into specifics” – purpose of one search box that comes up. Comprehensive results for sports figures (umm, ooook….). Good health information with one search. Yahoo! Open Search Platform: “Yelp can sponsor a plugin that’s inserted into Yahoo!’s search results that entirely submitted & formatted by Yelp.” Interesting.

Raju is last. Of course, Microsoft has some hardware compatibility problems setting up the presentation (hehe). “A skiers’ journey through blended search” – interesting way of doing the presentation… “Get more things done with as few clicks as possible.” “We camp out with consumers and watch them consume.” Consumers use search in three main ways:

1) Finding info about a specific question
2) Discover-mode. So like, looking at baby strollers, comparing them, etc.
3) Just browsing. Exploring. “What’s new about your favorite band”

Live Search Demo! From a skiers’ perspective. Searched on “snow report Tahoe”. Pretty nice looking SERP page. “ski shops” search. More detail into listings on the SERP and a nice page loads with a detailed look at the ski shops. “1 / 3 of search queries are local in nature.”

www.webmaster.live.com – MSN business listings.

Next search – san jose traffic. Shows a real-time map with traffic data. Essentially, this is what Google provides… but not in the SERP. Next search was for “digital camera.” Also some very interesting video features for MSN (pausing the main video, looking at previews of others, etc.).

QnA time afterwards. Clickthrough rate – looking at the WHOLE page and behavior of where clicks are going to (so not focusing on a specific “universal” feature result). My question was asked: “What influences the ranking of local search results?” “Ranking secret sauce” – booooo

About Christian Bullock

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