Universal Search Ranking Tips for Video and Images

"With good SERP data and a solid SEO strategy, universal search can help marketers improve just about every metric they care about."


It’s impossible to ignore the encroachment of Google’s universal search features on search engine results pages (SERPs).

In the context of universal search, it’s important to understand where you rank organically (while not the traditional ten blue links, above-the-fold results are still natural). Econsultancy’s Charity Stebbins recently shared how to take defensive and offensive measures to rank for images and video in universal search.

“Universal search is another opportunity to get your brand out there in a competitive market. In every vertical, there are untapped niches and those who are the first to market will have an enormous advantage.”

In the example below, Tilly’s ranked one position below Nordstrom, but the images in the middle widen the space between the two results dramatically.

images videos organic search google

“It’s helpful to know that for this SERP, putting in the elbow grease it takes to jump up one natural ranking position will pay off extra,” writes Stebbins. “You’ll leapfrog over the universal result in addition to the Nordstrom organic result. Knowledge like this can really help you prioritize your optimization efforts.”

In terms of video, structured data helps streamline rankings for relevant queries. In the example below, a Sports Authority video outranks Amazon because of the video’s position as a universal search element. The video’s ratings and preview also make the result more visually attractive.

universal search

Sports Authority’s video sitemap includes whether the video is family friendly, its length, view count and publication date, which is an “excellent example of detailed, well-constructed markup.”

As far as images go, unique images have a higher chance of appearing in universal search positions: “Zappos performs very well in the universal image packs because of its emphasis on unique content. Zappos takes pictures of all of its products (and shoots its own videos).”

Also be sure to optimize the title, alt tag and the copy around your images with relevant keywords.

Click here to read the full post by Stebbins.