Example questions at SES: Universal Search

Whether you call it blended search, 3D search (Ask’s name), or universal search, it has the potential to surface as many relevant results as other hot search topics such as personalization. At SES yesterday, I sat in the back of the Universal Search session. There are good write-ups on the PowerPoint and presentations, but not as much coverage of the questions.

Just to give you a flavor of the sort of questions that people asked afterwards, here are a few as I remember/interpreted them:

Q: (This was for David Bailey, the Google rep.) You showed a snapshot of metacafe.com entering Google’s search results via universal search. How can a video site get included in Google’s universal search?
A: Quite a few sites are already in there, and we would love to open that up more. Factors include things like reliable playability, lack of copyright concerns, no porn, etc. They’ll keep working to expand the sites that can participate.

Q: Do you expect to be crawling the web for videos?
A: Not right now. For the time being, you could submit your video to YouTube or other search engines if you wanted to.

Q: (for Yahoo’s Tim Mayer, I think) Do you expect to use 3rd party rating such as BizRate to help with ratings and abuse?
A: For now, we’re just using ratings on Yahoo.

Q: We have 20-30 videos on our corporate site. We wouldn’t show up in universal/blended/3D search?
A: Not right now, but you could always submit your videos to the different engines.

Q: (for Google) What other types of data do you expect to surface?
A: A good guess is the types of data that we already help search over, e.g. things like patents or code could be interesting, or Google Base has different feeds for real estate and jobs. Data that we already have is the most likely near-term, but most people probably care about well-known types of data like news, video, local, etc.

Q: Different IPs will see different search results? How can I see what someone in San Diego would see?
A: There’s not a great way right now. Some people use proxies.

Note from Matt: Google does provide quite a bit of this functionality. For example,
http://www.google.com/search?q=bank&gl=us searches as if you’re in the U.S., and returns Bank of America at #1. But http://www.google.com/search?q=bank&gl=uk does the search as if you’re in the UK, and returns Lloyds TSB at #1.

You can even look at ads based on lat/long, regions, cities, U.S. ZIP codes or U.S. designated market area (DMA). See this way informative post for more details.

Q: What future plans do you have to extract text from audio or video?
A: Everyone was silent for a while. David Bailey of Google gave the only reasonable answer that most search engine employees can give when you ask about future plans: we have researchers that work on such projects, but we have nothing to announce at this time.

Q: What are your three best optimization tips for video?
A: (various panelists answered.)
1. Choose a good title that describes your video
2. Tim Mayer from Yahoo mentioned exploring MediaRSS.
3. Erik Collier from Ask said “Make a kick-ass video.” Well-said, and a good reminder that compelling content makes optimization much easier. :)

Apologies if I’ve paraphrased any questions or answers incorrectly. Feel free to comment if you think I got something wrong.

41 Responses to Example questions at SES: Universal Search (Leave a comment)

  1. Tim

    I’m not trying to sound negative, but is video search really that important of an subject? When asked the question “wouldn’t you want your search to include video results?” I would kneejerk and say yes, but what real value is it?

    I’m talking about being totally useful for the majority of what search engines do today? I’d suspect that the overwhelming majority of users would not want to search video.

    Sure, there are cases for video searching, but I’m sure it is very small…

  2. Harith

    Matt,

    It would be great if you post some of your most interesting remarks and comments from today’s Google Dance 2007.

    Maybe few SEO Dancing Tips :-)

  3. I’ll try to pay attention and see what I can do, Harith.

  4. g1smd

    Can you talk a bit more about that &gl= parameter?

    What types of searches does that work for? How many countries / regions is it active for?

  5. g1smd, I think gl will work with almost any of the two letter ISO country codes. I’ve only ever tested it with web search, but I wouldn’t be surprised if other services supported it as well.

  6. So, when will Universal Search come to other countries, e.g. Germany? I see some little tests, but nothing big so far.

  7. Aaron

    Is this part of universal search Matt?

    Say is I sell a “green widget” and have a website dedicated to my green widgets. I single Adobe .pdf file appears above my entire site when searching for “green widgets” in Google. I believe the reason for it being there is that Google knows that many search for “make green widgets” and I do not offer this information on my site because why would I show people how to make “green widgets” when I make and sell them?

    So the question, are PDF files part of universal search or are you guys just dipping into our analytics data to return what you believe are relevant results?

    BTW: The “make a green widget” PDF file out ranks my entire site for many phrases people search for. It is kind of annoying because it really is not that good and is filled with dead links and outdated references. Is this part of universal search? You might want to take a second look.

    (you can just answer yes or know if I am digging too deep Matt)

  8. you can answer yes or “no” that is…

    *turns off voice activated commands*

    ;-(

  9. yes, we will be very interested if there will be a universal search and see how it goes compared with current search.

  10. This may sound goofy but I’m curious how much dancing actually goes on at the Google Dance. My wife and I are ballroom dancers, and even compete professionally. Did you see any partner dancing going on there? We would probably fly out next year for it if so. :)

    Concerning the videos, I know what (spam) optimization technique is to copy other people’s videos, and then re-upload them to YouTube or a variety of other video sites. Are you finding some effective methods for stopping this?

  11. This may sound goofy but I’m curious how much dancing actually goes on at the Google Dance.

    Probably a bunch of “Rapture Addicts” jumping around. . . . .

  12. Dear Matt

    Are you sure about the “gl=uk” part?
    It sure does not work from germany: I get german banks + wikipedia and none of the results you mentioned. For both queries.
    There must be something else that’s needed to make it work.

    Regards
    Sebastian

  13. MadGenius

    Is there any plans at SES to discuss 301s and how Google views them. I hope this question is not out of line for this tread.

    I have a site that currently ranks well in Google but the site is slow and unappealing. Because of the language it was wrote in JSP I am moving the site and almost all its content via a global 301. I am not redirecting page by page.

    The domain this is moving to is an older domain of mine that use to be online about this same subject matter. Will Google crush this new site for duplicate content?

    If there is anything mentioned about 301s could you please post those here. It would be a great help. I am probably the only idiot LOL that is 301ing a very good ranking domain in Google to a newly designed and reconstructed site.

  14. “So the question, are PDF files part of universal search or are you guys just dipping into our analytics data to return what you believe are relevant results?”

    I think PDF’s should be part of Universal search because it offers more options for the consumer. We use one that serves as a flyer for one of our services, what’s nice about it is that customers can simply print or email it or even save it offline for future reference or comparisons.

  15. Pleasure meeting you before the session Matt, great to finally meetup.

    Although it was great to meet you, I wasn’t entirely happy with your presentation during the session. Felt like pretty basic stuff to me that everyone knew already. Are there any points you can make that are new in the industry?

    Thanks Matt

  16. > How can a video site get included in Google’s universal search?
    > …
    > lack of copyright concerns

    Can’t be that important a criteria if YouTube is in, right…

  17. Great post, thanks!
    Saw your “super secret session” video today.

    Any word on submitting videos longer than 10 minutes? Still OK to upload those to google video and any idea if service there is expected to continue?

  18. “Note from Matt: Google does provide quite a bit of this functionality. For example,
    http://www.google.com/search?q=bank&gl=us searches as if you’re in the U.S., and returns Bank of America at #1. But http://www.google.com/search?q=bank&gl=uk does the search as if you’re in the UK, and returns Lloyds TSB at #1.”

    Looks like this only works for adwords. At least here from Denmark. So we need to use proxies. Any plans to give users more control over the SERP based on location in the future?

  19. Dave (original)

    Matt, can one use Universal search to seek out life in other Galaxies :)

    Carl Sagan would be proud!

  20. Hi Matt,
    The link to the “way informative post” didn’t work. Came up with this error message “bx-hu39d2″ ??
    Can you give us the correct link please.
    Keen to read about this way of searching.
    Thanks Grant.

  21. Dave (original)

    The link does work and is correct.

  22. Ian

    Universal search in the UK would be nice, yeah. Although UK search pages for Google Apps For Domain homepages would be nicer :)

  23. Mad, I think Google understands 301, and it should not be a problem. My suggestion is to keep the old site until the next Google update.

  24. well i found this on my niece igoogle page (she didn’t customize it yet so there was the google video top 100 widget)
    http://www.presseblog.at/informationcommunication/2007/08/16/google-video/

    with data right from
    http://video.google.com/videoranking

    so is it just me or is there a little contradiction with this answer “Factors include things like reliable playability, lack of copyright concerns, no porn, etc.”?

  25. “Submit your site to relevant directories such as the Open Directory Project and Yahoo!, as well as to other industry-specific expert sites”

    http://www.google.com/support/webmasters/bin/answer.py?answer=35769

    Matt can you help clarify this?

    If I submit to hundreds of directories in the most appropriate category is this penalized?

    Many webmasters say yes. But in reality I am promoting my site not for PR but for a link a visitor may find.

    It is mentioned above “relevant directories” so any directory with a suitable category like “sports” would be perfect for a sports site.

    So I have a list of 8000 directories are they bad due to many being new with no PR? I don’t think so as I am not after PR but just the link and traffic. Even if it is directory owner who visits – I don’t care as he may be an interested customer

    Should I be slow in my manual submission as it is speculated fast is not ok.

    Of course this is not a natural link supplied by another – it is one created by the webmaster – but is that not his job?

    Hope you can answer as the forums are not a clear place to get a clear perspective.

  26. I think I’ll have to check out the Media Rss tool there! Nice, clean post Matt, though you could look beyond the a-list of seo blogs for write-ups. It gets repetitive after a while. (And I’m not saying this for my own site to get links, because I’m not at SES)

  27. “So I have a list of 8000 directories are they bad due to many being new with no PR? I don’t think so as I am not after PR but just the link and traffic. Even if it is directory owner who visits – I don’t care as he may be an interested customer”

    8000 of anything seems a bit excessive, but it would be nice to have more clarification on this from Google.

    No offence Matt, but the paradox is that Google really does not give clear definitions in many areas, instead we get near cryptic messages. Imo, if there was any editorial discretion involved it’s natural. Even reciprocal links are natural it they are not the automated junk links.

    Google is a corporate website making a lot of money off our documents, so I don’t see why you can’t help us, help you.

  28. Dave (original)

    IMO, Google will NEVER penalize any site for submitting to directories, whether they be relevant or not!

    In case of paid listings, YOU have to decide if the direct CLICK traffic from the listing is worth the cost. That means you don’t even look at the green bar and note the PR.

    In the case of free listing, YOU have to decide if the direct CLICK traffic from the listing is worth the cost of your time submitting. Again, that means you don’t even look at the green bar and note the PR.

    In the case of free listing in exchange for a link back, don’t waste your time. In fact, don’t even consider it.

    Google knows full well that Webmasters cannot control who and how other sites link to you.

    Who YOU link TO though IS in your FULL control.

    Google’s guidelines, when read in full with common sense and from Google’s perspective, answer ALL questions.

  29. Deb

    Hi Matt

    I read a nice article of David Salinas (http://www.seo-news.com/) about universal search. It’s really difficult to optimize a site under universal search Google are targeting, so our job will be over???

    Deb

  30. Q: Do you expect to be crawling the web for videos?
    A: Not right now. For the time being, you could submit your video to YouTube or other search engines if you wanted to.
    ======================
    well I think google wellmaredged googlevideo with youtube
    on other hand yahoo search for video very suck
    and google not very good on that
    question is
    who will be the best for search about video?

    Basim

  31. Hans Nordhaug

    Regarding search results based on geographic location:

    Why doesn’t http://www.google.no/search?q=bank and http://www.google.com/search?q=bank&gl=no give the same results? Thx.

  32. Martial; “So I have a list of 8000 directories”?? — are you kidding me!
    anyways ask, matt about this!

    So much of optimization info available every where, and I m not sure about any1 of them ……..but one thing i am sure which apply every where, n that is; Don’t over do things – whether its optimization of website OR your diet chart!

    Good day PpL!!

  33. But HIPAA only applies to medical records maintained by health care providers, health plans, and health clearinghouses – and only if the facility maintains.
    Tha

  34. “Q: Do you expect to be crawling the web for videos?
    A: Not right now. For the time being, you could submit your video to YouTube or other search engines if you wanted to.”

    I don’t see videos from other sites ever being included or if they are included I don’t see them having reliable search results. I don’t know how you could ever search or moderate the videos content. Perhaps a community effort?

  35. Search results based on region. That is pretty cool! If the company offers services worldwide but is based in USA would it still show world wide?

  36. Best for the Videos

    1. Choose a good title that describes your video
    2. Create extremely informative and eye catchy video of course, adhere to Google guidelines. 3. Compelling content makes optimization much easier.
    4. Submit these videos to Google video, YouTube, Video upload download and more.
    5. Do Media RSS for your videos.

  37. Hi Matt,

    I enjoy reading your blog every time I come here. Always new info, always…

    I have had this question for a long time, thought I might ask you. (Hopefully, you will be able to answer this without getting into trouble! oops) I have trying to optimize adsense on my web for ages! (lol) but somehow I am still not successful! I am just wondering whether the quality of ads shown on your website correlates to the Page Ranking of the site? I.e. the higher PR your site is, the higher paid ads you get! Is this true?

    Thanks
    Nick

  38. Seems like some informative stuff there. Personally I think that search engines should highlight universal search as an option and if not selected then just search everything. Google, you do this well but to be honest I think could improve on layout or the SERPS on the universal section, perhaps look at ASK ;) Besides this though I much prefer your seperation of content streams, it makes more sense.

  39. I think that different IPs must see the same search results. So using proxies… it’s not a problem.

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