Blended search engine optimization (BSEO): Lead or get out of the way

Still sifting through plain old text search results? How old school of you.

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Apparently, “blended” search results are becoming all the rage for GenY, says a new iProspect study. That is, search results containing images, videos, news, blogs, and reference results on the same page.

The study found that 31 percent of users are now clicking images, with twice as many searchers aged 18–34 clicking them compared with those over 35. 17 percent are clicking on videos. The most frequently clicked vertical within blended search is news.

While Google kicked off the blended results craze nearly a year ago, and MSN and Yahoo followed suit later in 2007, newbies Askx.com and searchmash.com are among the blended search engines trying to find a toe-hold in Google’s world.

What does it mean for online marketers? It’s time to optimize all of your digital assets.

Video press releases. That podcast of your CEO giving a brilliant speech. Sneak preview images of sexy new products. Post them to your own site, tag them, and inject them into other high-profile content streams, like YouTube or top blogs like BoingBoing.

Start paddling now to catch the blended results wave.

One-third of those surveyed also said they consider those in the first few pages of search results the leaders in their space. The assumption is that if you’re really a player, you’ve got search all figured out by now.

Another interesting finding: We’re getting more impatient in our pursuit of instant gratification, regardless of our generation. More users than ever are clicking only on the first page of results, the study showed —68 percent in 2008 compared with 62 percent in 2006 and 48 percent in 2002.

The new bottom line for CMOs?

• Page one of search results, “classic” or blended = product/information/service leader.

• Page two or three = your company is middle of the road, maybe a nice fallback option.

• Page four or higher = start packing your cardboard box (don’t forget your stress ball).

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