Data & Strategy for Blended Search

June 23, 2010

To compete in the search space, Bing has been exercising a strategy of differentiation and progress. Bing now boasts a comprehensive social search vertical, aggregating data from Facebook and Twitter to display search results and analyze popular trends. The search engine is also planning to release a ground-up redesign of the Bing Webmaster Center this summer, including new visualization tools, additional data and a simplified user interface. As for the Bing-Yahoo! search partnership, Microsoft’s SVP of online audiences business, Yusuf Mehdi, explained during an interview at SMX Advanced that Bing will power Yahoo! by the end of the year.

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Blended search results are becoming a more prominent part of the search experience across all the top-tier engines. While the topic of Universal search strategy is often discussed, few professional optimizers have taken action by integrating blended search opportunities into their SEO campaigns. David Harry talks to Virginia about the need to develop a blended search strategy that examines the types of blended results — news, blog, video, social and more — that are displayed in your targeted query spaces. He offers up a tool that can report the blended search types that are displayed for target keywords and the frequency that blended results are displayed for those queries. In the near future, he plans to conduct research into what triggers blended search results and the effect of personalization on Universal search.

Then Paula, Susan and Virginia discuss tactics for website management in the era of Google Caffeine and the fastest index yet. Many of the duties of the website optimization, development and maintenance team are constant and ongoing. Various webmaster tools must be used to diagnose site issues regularly. A schedule for interval keyword research is helpful. And cross-department communication is key. Review Beyond Position Bias: Examining Result Attractiveness as a Source of Presentation Bias in Clickthrough Data (PDF), a research paper by Google employees, for insight into the importance of content displayed in search results. Use this information and data collected from site analytics and server logs to continually test and evolve your website for increased conversions and rankings.