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Search Engine Results - A Changing Landscape

Posted by Adrian Bredeson on Jan 21, 2010 11:50:00 AM

As the Web develops there have been noticeable changes in how Search Engine results are displayed. Google has added more and more categories of search results, pushing the ever important organic search positions all over the page. Organic search positions are still important. Appearing as the first organic position for a search is still valuable for brands. Though still important, organic search results are being pushed around on the search engines.

It is important to see how the landscape of Search Engine Results has changed. You may hold a number 3 search position for an important keyword, which used to mean great exposure, but what does that really mean anymore? Here is a screen shot from Google, with the different search results labeled.

These aren't the only listings that can pop up and interfere with organic search positions. Google also inputs Google Local listings both at the top of the page, or sometimes within the organic results. Google has also been including real time news results, streaming information from other news sources and Twitter. Examples of these services can be seen below.

As you can see, the first organic search listing doesn't fully appear "above the fold" in this case. So what are these new sections of results, and how can you make the most of these sections for your Web site?

  • Extended Sponsored Product Listings - These listings are new on Google. They are an extended sponsored listing, companies pay to appear in this section, as in normal PPC advertising listings, but have the opportunity to add information, including photos, individual product listings and more detailed information.
  • Sponsored Listings - These are ads that have been purchased by companies. These are not new, and they are straightforward. For more information on PPC advertising, please read our PPC Blog posts. You can also receive a free PPC analysis from E-Power Marketing for more information on how to better utilize your PPC advertising budgets.
  • News Stories - Google's News service gathers news headlines from around the world and has created a search engine of many of the world's news sources. At times, they produce links to news stories related to searched key phrases, as can be seen in the above image. Companies are able to submit their Blogs or news feeds to this service to be reviewed by Google.
  • Shopping Listings - Google has developed the Google Merchant Center. Companies are able to submit their products through this service, and Google offers these results in the Shopping Listing section of Search Engine Results. For more search visibility within these listings, optimized product descriptions should be submitted to Google through the Merchant Center.
  • Local Listings - Google offers a local service that lets users find local businesses, view maps and get driving directions to those locations through Google Maps. The Google Local Business Center allows businesses to create a free business listing where you can update your business' information regularly. When searches are made, Google can include Local Listings at the top of search results, or within the organic listings.
  • Video Listings - Google can add video listings to search engine results as well. These videos are relevant to the search, and are pulled from top online video hosting providers, such as YouTube and Vimeo, as well as from top news sources such as ABC and CNN.

Google isn't the only search engine to diversify their listings. Below, you can see how Yahoo and Bing are also offering more diversity in their search results.

Search Engines are changing the way they present information to Internet users. There are more opportunities than ever to gain exposure and search visibility on the first pages of search engines. As things are changing, it is important for Web site owners to understand how things are changing, and what they can do to adapt.

Topics: SEO

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