Universal Search: how often are they shown on Google’s SERPs?
Search Engine Optimisation

Universal Search: how often are they shown on Google’s SERPs?

3rd August 2011

Last week Barry Schwartz of Search Engine Land reported on a study done by Searchmetrics about which types of universal search – results from specific vertical searches such as videos and images, shown in addition to normal web page results – appear most often in Google’s American SERPs.

Now Searchmetrics has sent State of Search similar data for UK search results, and it appears the trends follows that of Google.com closely. First of all, what jumps out is that universal results are a part of the vast majority of SERPs. Less than 30% of Google’s results pages do not have a universal element to them.

When looking at which type of universal result appears most often, video is the unsurprising champion, followed at a respectful distance by images:

Universal Search Trend Percentage UK

When comparing the Google UK data to the earlier Google US data, it is interesting to note that there are some variances in which universal results are shown how often.

Video results, for example, are shown on over 70% of UK SERPs, compared to 60%-65% in America. But Shopping results are displayed on slightly less than 20% of UK SERPs, compared to well over 20% in the USA. Apparently there’s a different level of relevance of various universal results in the US versus the UK.

Looking at the specific websites that are shown as part of these universal results, it’s apparent that – like in the USA – Google’s own properties benefit the most:

UK Top 10 universal search

I’m slightly surprised at discovering that eBay apparently dominates the UK’s Shopping results, as I fully expected Google’s product search, powered by the feeds submitted to the Google Merchant Center, to own that type of universal search. This is an interesting bit of information and may influence some online merchants’ decisions about on which sites to sell their goods.

Also interesting is the list of sites that show up for Maps results. To be honest I didn’t realise non-Google Maps sites showed up there at all.

It would be great if this data, useful as it already is, could be complemented by percentages of impressions for these top 10 sites, as that would enable site owners to make truly informed decisions about which platforms to invest in for their universal search strategy.


Written By
Barry Adams is one of the chief editors of State of Digital and is an award-winning SEO consultant delivering specialised technical SEO services to clients worldwide.
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