I've had some time to consider Google's new universal search that they are implementing in their search results. What I see makes me think of this in terms of search goulash.

Mmmm! a (not-so) tasty combination of everything I didn't want in my search with some stuff I did thrown in.

First a little goulash background. Growing up, goulash was a dish my mother made that was essentially all of the week's dinner left-overs combined into one (not-so) tasty dish. We dreaded goulash nights, but God bless my mother, she wasn't willing to waste any food!

This is what universal search reminds me of. Everything that everybody likes thrown in, but nothing that most people would find tasty. Google realized that very few people were using their individual search areas such as images, video, news, etc, and universal search is their one-size-fits-all fix to that. The result is a bunch of, what I would consider to be, irrelevant search results. I understand what Google is trying to accomplish, I'm just not convinced this is the best approach.

When I want to buy something I typically don't want videos, or images, or books about it, I want a site that sells it. If I want information, then some of those other options might be nice, but again, images of what I want are not going to help much. Whatever search I perform I pretty much know what type of information I'm looking for, whether that be to buy, learn more about, watch, see, etc. Universal search is mix of just about every type of search in one place, regardless of the searchers desire.

Perhaps better integration of those verticals would have been more appropriate. Google expirimental search gets this right. Just to the left of the search results are links to their other verticals. Maybe instead of just linking to those verticals as seen in that link above they could provide the #1 result for each under the vertical heading. This would provide the same basic concept of universal search without forcing them into the main search area, while also giving searchers more visible options.

Maybe I'm the odd man out, but when I search I know what kind of information I'm looking for. Google doesn't and universal search tries to fix that by being all things to all people. The result is merely less of what anybody really wants. And in this case, less isn't more.

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June 19, 2007

Stoney deGeyter is the President of Pole Position Marketing, a leading search engine optimization and marketing firm helping businesses grow since 1998. Stoney is a frequent speaker at website marketing conferences and has published hundreds of helpful SEO, SEM and small business articles.

If you'd like Stoney deGeyter to speak at your conference, seminar, workshop or provide in-house training to your team, contact him via his site or by phone at 866-685-3374.

Stoney pioneered the concept of Destination Search Engine Marketing which is the driving philosophy of how Pole Position Marketing helps clients expand their online presence and grow their businesses. Stoney is Associate Editor at Search Engine Guide and has written several SEO and SEM e-books including E-Marketing Performance; The Best Damn Web Marketing Checklist, Period!; Keyword Research and Selection, Destination Search Engine Marketing, and more.

Stoney has five wonderful children and spends his free time reviewing restaurants and other things to do in Canton, Ohio.

Search Engine Guide > Stoney deGeyter > Mmmm! Tasty Search Goulash: Weighing in on Universal Search