By Michael Dorausch

Imagine having a video on YouTube that has less than a 1000 views. Pretty lame by social media standards. Now imagine that same video provides you with new business and also gets your business featured on a local TV news channel. Not so lame. Thanks to blended search, new and easy to implement opportunities exist for those seeking to increase exposure of their small business.

News of Google Universal Search is not new. Google has been blending video and other content in its search results officially since May of 2007. But Universal Search has evolved, and we now have examples of how the 2008 Edition can lead to success when some basic skills are applied.

First-Hand Experience
In August of 2007, I shot a 90 second video of a friends 11 year old daughter speaking about his business, and I uploaded it to YouTube. I gave the video a link from one site and shared it with him and a few other friends, I then forgot about it. 6 months later he informed me his local small business was getting new clients as a result of the video. I was impressed that a small business was attracting new local clients from a YouTube video (that had not been actively promoted), apparently I was not alone.

On a Monday night I posted an article on the making of the video and it’s interesting success. The article appeared in Google News moments later and was spotted by a local NBC TV affiliate reporter early the next morning. Within a few hours the local news station was visiting the office address of the business owner and interviewing him and his daughter (the girl featured in the video). The broadcast (Local tween hits it big on youtube.com) ran the following Tuesday night as a feel-good story for the local evening news. How cool is that?

As a side note, while receiving less attention, Google News has also been evolving with enhanced local features and others (like comments and video).

The First 1000 Views
After I heard the news of my friend getting new clients I did some research. I assumed people were finding the video via Google organic search (he didn’t ask). A review of Google results provided two types of links leading to the video. First was a text link to the video on page 1 of results (in position 6), which was blended with the recently updated ten box local map results, and 9 other regular listings.

On page 2 of the results was a “blended” video link (also in position 6 for that page), along with 9 other regular listings. Let’s take a look at a screenshot.

Blended Search Screenshot

Looking at the anatomy of this Google blended search result we see a two keyword title, a snippet that is pulled from the text description (added when uploading the video), the video length, and a cached star rating. There is also a clickable thumbnail (80 pixel by 60 pixel screen capture).

As has been previously reported on Search Engine Land, eye tracking tests ran on Google blended search results, showed restriction when it came to graphics appearing in the results set. Basically, ones eyes tended not to continue going down beyond the thumbnail graphic. I’d like to think of this as a big red stop sign type of opportunity that could help your result in standing out from the rest of the crowd.

What I find interesting is that these opportunities are very much in reach, even for the non-web savvy small business owner. I won’t guarantee that your local news will be calling you for an interview, but you can benefit from applying the few easy steps I’m suggesting here.

  • Create a YouTube account and upload your video
  • Use a descriptive title (keywords you’d like to be found for)
  • Describe the video as you would in conversation and include that information in the description
  • Share the video via e-mail with your friends and family

There are other steps one may suggest, like encouraging your friends and family to vote for your video, and maybe asking them to forward it to their friends, but the basic steps mentioned above should be enough to get you into the game.

Blended search will continue to evolve and users will begin to expect things other than standard search results. Having a video promoting your business, that Google can index and include in its blended search results, is an adjustment to your marketing strategy I would highly recommend.