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Universal Search: A Huge Opportunity For European SEMs

Although Google’s universal search results were introduced in the U.S. in 2007, they’re a relatively recent development in Europe, and not fully implemented everywhere. Universal search results show not only text links but videos, images, local results, maps and much more. And the problem is, many European web sites aren’t taking advantage of the opportunities offered by universal search.

Universal search is gradually getting more attention in Europe. Most search marketers are advising their clients to bolster their sites with non-text content to take advantage of the opportunities. However, in many cases Europeans still have a lot to gain when it comes to the use of universal search elements. There are big opportunities if you step in now.

The UK probably has the most advanced search results in Europe. This is because they make use of an English index. The rest of Europe has their own indexes, with their own languages. This means all the different indexes need their own universal content. Videos for Dutch results, images for French results and maps for Spanish results, or vice versa. All different elements which have to be optimized for different countries and different languages. These are the elements that offer the best chances for those aiming to get good rankings in European search results.

When you are focusing on Europe be sure to investigate where universal search elements are already appearing in Google result pages. And also look for gaps (for example, in some travel areas). Get in there, make videos, optimize your images and get your local results included. Now is your chance to be the first.

One thing you should keep in mind when trying to get universal search to work for you: European regulations. For example, one regulation is a rule which protects musicians prohibiting streaming music from being included in search results in many European countries (Google in the U.S. features this when relevant). This means that not every universal search element is implemented in Europe.

Here are a couple of things to remember when you start optimizing for universal search in different European countries:

  • Start with video: this is “low hanging fruit” for now
  • Be descriptive in YouTube on specific languages you want to target
  • Take a look at the different Google language sites to see where universal search has already been implemented
  • Find the spots where there are many opportunities for getting universal results
  • Be sure you check whether or not some universal elements cab be used in Europe or not
  • Remember that Europe is not one country, but a continent, therefore there are different regulations in different countries and different search indexes, so optimize for your specific target countries.

Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.

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