Are you afraid of Universal Search?

Google recently shook up the internet marketing community with their monumental move to start integrating all their search engine results (images, books, videos, etc.) into their standard organic search product. For example, try a search for popular items such as “pirates of the caribbean” or “steve jobs” — Google now pulls in video, news clips, book entries or more, depending on your specific query. In an even more extreme example, the new Ask engine has a completely radical interface that sacrifices ad space to feature Wikipedia, Video and News results.

For those who are used to earning their bread and butter using title tags, meta descriptions and vanilla content, this change is pretty scary. How will those techniques stand up against multimedia, institutional news sources and books? Will SEOs suddenly need to be A/V pros, journalists and publishers in order to keep getting the top search results they’re used to?

Well, these questions certainly aren’t answered yet, but the Search Engine Roundtable featured a nice starter article on How to Capitalize on Google Universal Search. The comments are not terribly groundbreaking, but help demystify the universal search engine and provide some solid tips to diversifying your search optimization techniques, which will be increasingly necessary as search engines rely on more and more sources outside your actual website when determining your exposure. It may not be fair that Google chooses YouTube as the authority on all things video, but at least we know the rules and can make decisions on how to play accordingly.