How the universal SERPs are changing and how to stay at the top

The demand for SEO is higher than ever.

The global pandemic accelerated the entire digital transformation of the industry, including some of the most established sectors such as:

  • Finances.
  • Healthcare.
  • Communication.
  • Conferences.

SEO is central to all marketing activities.

This is especially true at the beginning of the holiday season.

And as consumer behavior has evolved, the SERPs have evolved in parallel.

We all know that the SERP development in our industry has always been a constant regardless of recent events.

With the fundamental market shifts, however, the demand for digital presence is also increasing, as is the competition for search and voice output.

For SEO, this means keeping track of the SERPs by using content for universal SERP rankings in multimedia format.

This article will walk you through how some elements of the Universal SERPs are performing, along with some research for additional insights and context for your SEO strategy.


Read on below

Universal search

Navigating changes in the SERPs and keeping track of what’s going on – be it an algorithmic change or a core update – is without a doubt one of the most challenging and time-consuming elements of search engine optimization.

As Google continues to evolve and try to improve the customer experience, it was imperative to stay up to date in 2020 to stay stable.

Universal Search is a compiled group of results that includes images, videos, local businesses, and extensive snippets.

It is often referred to as blended search in search engine optimization.

Content can come from a variety of sources, industries, and locations, including desktop and mobile.

The results are often displayed in a box next to or above other SEO and SERP results.

Depending on the search query, the results are displayed in different formats.

For example, Google uses the US as an example of a query that can return a mixed form of pictures, articles, news, and websites.

In particular, “how-to” queries return relevant videos, quick answers, and text results.

How the universal SERPs are changing & # 038;  How to stay on top

As the shift changes from 10 blue links to over 50 different types of SERP results, the “pinball pattern effect” takes effect, suggesting that users prefer visual type formats in the results.


Read on below

To stay ahead in universal search, understanding where you are, what types of content you have, and why you are positioned as you are in the results is important.

Then take action to improve accordingly.

Staying one step ahead of universal search can help build your brand awareness and differentiate yourself from the competition by helping Google bring relevant experiences to users’ experiences and questions.


Google is always looking for new ways to identify and provide relevant images.

The more relevant and unique and engaging the images are, the more likely they are to appear in universal search positions.

  • Consider developing images with information, branding, and a CTA for impressions and traffic in the year ahead.
  • Make sure your images are original, optimized for page load speed, and have the correct metadata attached. Add keywords to the filename.

Sometimes images are easier to rate, but harder to generate traffic. Hence, it is important to spend time on image SEO and visual search strategies.


Videos showing up in the SERPs are increasing as they become an essential part of SEO and digital marketing strategies.

Research suggests that 62% of universal search results include video.

They can take the format of clipping clips on the SERP and, if they are of high quality and properly optimized, will be preferred by Google over traditional text and many other formats.

  • Publish videos on both your domain and YouTube.
  • Make sure the YouTube videos have calls-to-action to guide people to the domain site.
  • Use and customize video content to complement existing content on your website.
  • Use the scheme.
  • Embed videos in the pages of your website and add a transcript.

Compelling video requires resources and planning, from design to content creation and production.

Make sure you plan a visual search (image and video) and add video costs and creative resources to your content and SEO plan.

People also ask box

The development of People Also Ask coincides with the advent of natural language processing and the impact of the announcement of the BERT algorithm update.

Simply put, “natural language” is more talkative and “processing” means Google better understands the searcher’s needs and the best answer.


Read on below

As part of BrightEdge’s universal search for PAA (and analyzing image, video and carousel results), you can examine how the desktop and mobile experiences have differed and changed over the past 12 months.

For example, we’ve seen a big drop in mobile devices – possibly due to a lack of engagement with mobile device functionality and screen sizes.

How the universal SERPs are changing & # 038;  How to stay on top

PAA plays an important role in SERPs in quickly satisfying user intentions.


Read on below

And Google tests the SERPs regularly.

If results are found that improve customer experience and business goals, it is likely to be expanded to a point where other SERP components are negatively impacted as the elements are optimized as a group for the best results.

Questions and answers are a very clear and uncomplicated structure of the conversation.

Google relies on this structure in the People Also Ask and rewards clear answers in the traditional organic results.

For some questions, the results show a presented section and may differ with regard to the content displayed.

  • Do your research to make sure you understand question-based queries – how, can, why.
  • Create response-based content based on keywords that trigger PAA results.
  • Provide short, concise content for answers and think about conversational mannerisms.
  • Keep your content and answers updated regularly.

The 3 pack

Placement in the local 3 pack can favor real physical locations when a keyword query indicates that a person is looking for a physical location and wants to find a local location / map pack result.

The information displayed on the SERP contains information and links related to such as: B. a business address, website, opening and closing hours, customer reviews and instructions.


Read on below

  • Complete and update your Google My Business and make sure the name, address and location are correct.
  • Generate lots of reviews.
  • Make sure you add all of your physical locations to the site.
  • Include location data and GPS coordinates in the location map of your location

Local and hyperlocal strategies are becoming increasingly important for SEO.

Mobile will always be an important part of it. So make sure your mobile website follows local best practices and targets search terms that only apply to your local business location.

Carousel Results

The Google carousel offers users extensive format results for improved interaction.

You can view results for restaurants, food, travel, and hospitality, especially on mobile devices.

The results can include Google ratings, customer reviews, categories, and prices.

Types of Google carousels are based on entity-based searches (such as “Best”, “List of”, and “Places”).

They are not shown for every type of result and are based on rotating queries.

They can contain pictures, videos, knowledge bases, interesting finds, films, and recipe lists.

  • Make sure your Google My Business profile is optimized for the maximum.
  • Make sure the images are optimized and of high quality.
  • Make sure you have lots of highly rated customer reviews. Add carousel markup in combination with a supported content type.
  • Add structured data.
  • With all types of carousel results, high quality content is always paramount.


Read on below

As Google continues to experiment with carousel types such as products that get product feeds from sources like Google’s Merchant Center, look out for new and non-traditional SEO SERP formats.

Conclusion and additional thoughts

The SERPS will continue to change.

SEO professionals need to work diligently to deepen their understanding of the relationships and relationships between intent, content, rank, traffic, and conversion.

Finding new ways to find behavioral keywords and create and optimize the right content for the right type of layout is critical.

Use the scheme so that Google can understand the content of your web pages and website.

This also helps with rich snippets.

All of these help algorithms identify the right types of content for the SERPs.

Expect more changes and improvements to language and other items such as vertical (e.g. finance, travel and sports) and other formats such as product lists, maps and apps in the coming months.

Prepare to align your SEO and PPC strategy – and check your mixed rank regularly.


Read on below

More resources:

Photo credit

All screenshots by the author, November 2020