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Optimising for Universal Search and the new Google ‘Jazz Interface’

11:03 on Wed, 26 May 2010 | SEO | 0 Comments

On May 5th Google’s new user interface (UI) was fully rolled out to all users – which means it’s time to take a look at how this affects the search world. Without going too much into the aesthetics of the new look lets look at what matters. It has been reported that the new 3 column layout with the address bar higher up the page has made a difference with click-through rates from search engine results pages (SERPs). Although this is likely to be affected by searchers checking out the new options.

Search Tools
The additional search options which were once accessible via a slider on the old interface are here to stay in the first column. These currently change depending on your search query. The options are likely to appear in order of what search tool is most relevant. E.g. the Maps filter is more likely to appear higher up when there’s been a geographical search.
 

 

Search Tool Filter Breakdown
Having these options available for easy access certainly makes a difference for the searcher. The option to filter results from ‘Pages from the UK’ now appears under the main search tools rather than being accessible via a radio button in the old interface.

Everything – Standard organic search listings with various blended results.
 

 

Optimising for everything(!)
The main organic listings are influenced by various factors – something we know a bit about here ;) This doesn’t stop various searches being influenced by blended results. This can mean that prime first page real estate can be taken up with result sections for images, news, local and more. With various searches being dominated by these results it’s certainly worth looking into ways to get seen in them.

The Everything section also has an additional option ‘More search tools’. Once clicked it reveals more clever search tools.
 

 

The 'More search tools' section also allows you to view pages you’ve already viewed or haven’t viewed. This being an element of Google’s personalised results.

Other options include related searches, a timeline and the visual wonder wheel. Page previews are also added to help you see a snapshot of a webpage before you visit.

Interestingly Google has kept the main Shopping page results filter out of the main search tools in left column. It’s location still residing in the top navigation bar. A product search will now trigger the visibility of the additional search options. These allow you to view more or less shopping results. Read Pete’s post on optimising for Google Shopping using the Google’s Merchant Centre.

Main search tools filters

News – Displays News results from Google News.

Optimising for News filter
Influencing news results isn’t easy unless of course you’re being mentioned. It is possible to become a news publisher although these technical requirements as well as other rules. Google News publishers can be suggested here.

Videos – Displays videos from sources such as Youtube, Metacafe, Dailymotion and more. On clicking Video you also get video specific content options such as video duration, sort by date or relevance, video quality preference and closed captioning (such as transcriptions).

Optimsing for the Video filter
The rankings of these results are likely based on a number of factors including video views and inbound links to the video itself. My blog post last month looked into optimising video for SEO.

Maps – This redirects your query directly into a Google Maps search.

Optimising for the Maps filters
It’s free to get your business added to Google Places (was Google Business Center). Read Pete’s blog post on optimising for Google Places.

Books – Displays results from Google Books. Additional options include a link to My Library (Google’s Book Bookmarking service), document type (books or magazines), preview size and publication date.

Optimising for the Books filters
Writing a book, getting it published and then getting it added to Google Books is lengthy process. This filter is great as a research tool – helping you to find content not based in the interwebs (until now of course!).

Blogs – Displays results from blog posts.

Optimising for the Blogs filters
The regular nature of blog posts means that results are ordered by published time in this section. Being displayed in blended results for blog posts certainly has it’s benefits but it’s unlikely to provide much traffic from Google itself, as blog posts will generally be treated as normal organic listings. Blogs are excellent in their own right for providing quick indexed information for the public domain. A blog with great content will attract links, draw in traffic and provide important focused links to other sections of your site.

Updates – Displays real-time updates from social networking sites such as Twitter, MySpace, Friendfeed and Jaiku.

Optimising for the Updates filters
Mostly recent messages are displayed with the 3rd column populated by ‘Top links’. The ‘Top links’ are influenced by the sharing of links from a combination of retweets and shares. Interestingly the link: operator is used to view who shared the link. This doesn’t have the same affect when using it on a standard search. The link: operator can still be used to see Google’s representation of inbound links to your URL. However you will get a lot more link details in your verified Google Webmaster Tools account.

Real Time search updates have been showing in standard search results for a few months now. They provide a quick way to get on the first page of Google for your search term – however this will be for a short period. Nonetheless it’s good to syndicate your news to sites like Twitter and build a following. Remember social media won’t necessarily improve your rankings.

Discussions – Displays results from forums, groups, message boards and Q & A sites such as Answers.com, Yahoo Answers and messages boards powered by vBulletin and PHPBB.

Optimising for Discussions filter
This section displays links to threads with high amount of individual posts. Getting involved in your community by participating in forums can help you engage with your customers. On the flipside creating your own forum is big step. It takes a lot of time and effort to build up a loyal online community.

The conclusion
The new search tools and interface certainly shows just how diverse Google’s search engine is. Core organic search rankings will always be the best source of traffic. With results including more blended results it’s certainly worth getting involved to increase your exposure and traffic potential.

 

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