Why You Should Be Scared Of Universal Search

Mike Grehan’s column last week, predictably, caused quite a ruckus. Disagreements and arguments are common in the SEO world–and that’s OK–but some anonymous *sshole crossed waaaay over the line in attacking him personally.

Side note: I once myself disagreed with one of Mike Grehan’s controversial columns, and made rather an ass out of myself when I called him out. I learned the lesson to not get emotional about business [unless it's a good emotion], and thankfully, Mike was gracious enough to forgive my stupid antics, and we’re on good terms now. :-)

Anyway, trying to intimidate someone anonymously, via e-mail, is cowardly. So, whoever you are, do us a favor and go join another industry… go to law school or something.

Now, leaving this little sh*t aside… A lot of smart people in our industry took offense to Mike’s column and wrote rebuttals. (I have no problem with rebuttals.) SEO isn’t dead, they said. (True.) Traditional SEO isn’t easy, they said. (True again. Maybe 90% of it is easy, but the other 10% can be really, really hard.) And SEO isn’t boring, they said. (Well, that depends on your perspective. It sure as hell still gets me up in the morning.)

Now, if Mike is guilty of anything in his columns, it’s hyperbole. I remember when I had my immature outburst against him, it was because he basically said that the Sandbox didn’t exist. Which, of course, was false. ;-) But he was making a very true point. “The Sandbox” had become a boogieman which many incompetent SEOs were blaming for any problem under the sun. And if his clients, and some other sites, were getting past the Sandbox, maybe it was time we reconsidered our way of thinking, stopped complaining, and got creative. So I guess, in my opinion, Mike was (arguably) wrong, but he was also very right. (Did I just write that cheesey line? I think I just heard a sound, as if a million voices were crying out in unison to unsubscribe from my RSS.)

You see, Mike was pointing his readers in the right direction, but the problem was, the direction was painful, and we didn’t want to go there. It’s almost like he’s our best friend, the only one who loves us enough to tell us our wife is cheating on us. Well someone had to tell us the truth but we sure weren’t happy to hear the news, nor were we thankful to the friend who told us what we didn’t want to hear. (Amazingly, my metaphors continue to get worse from paragraph to paragraph. Stick with this train wreck of an article, it gets better towards the end.)

So this “Other SEO” that Mike discusses is a silent revolution that sort of snuck up on us. We whine and complain about quality score updates, paid link FUD, etc. but this Universal Search has us really scared. Because the skillset, resources, and way of thinking that got us here–wherever here is–is going to have to evolve pretty heavily. Or, yep, we’re “dead”.

I mean for crying out loud, I do a search for my main keyword and there’s a godd*mn video ranking above me?!? How the f*ck am I supposed to beat that? Who the hell even knows how to make a video? Let alone one about mortgages that real people would actually want to watch! Just when I thought I had this stuff finally figured out… SON OF A

When a competitive landscape changes, and you realize you’re at a disadvantage, the first reaction is to be in denial–but the better managers come around to the facts–and get scared.

That’s OK. Unless you’re a creative multimedia genius, or you own a highly trusted media outlet that’s included in Google News, you should be scared by Universal Search. So go to law school if you don’t think you can cut it going forward. (Wuss.)

Not ready to quit yet? Cool. The next step is playing with Universal Search for a while, and then making an action plan. Your first video is going to suck, but that’s alright; the sooner you suck, the sooner you’ll rock.

Thanks for telling us what we needed to hear, Mike. Nill illigitimi carborundum!

p.s. speaking of being scared and surviving revolutions, check out this post by The Sugar Mama about evolving in a hostile search environment. Don’t worry, she doesn’t cuss as much as I do.

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#1 scoreboard on 06.18.07 at 8:04 pm

Stop blogging, you **********!

#2 seowoman on 06.19.07 at 11:56 am

Yeah, I’m scared. Every once in a while, I go back and read “You Are Better Than You Think,” and that helps a little.

But mostly I just weep softly into my pillow.

#3 indiancookerypodcast on 06.19.07 at 1:41 pm

You are Right, Thats what I exactly did, Last month I rolled out a Video, Its not the best video, Hey atleast it helps me to get into Universal Search Results. The Keyword: “Indian Food Video” or “indian food podcast”
I some how managed to get into Universal Results in less than 2 weeks. Basically i wanted to test the Universal Search.
Also wrote a post here: http://foxadv.blogspot.com/2007/05/optimize-your-power-point-presentation.html

Thank you Tropical SEO

#4 Jeremy Luebke on 06.19.07 at 2:27 pm

Anyone have a comprehensive list of Google content showing up in Universal search yet? This is what I have found so far

Products / Shopping
Local / Maps

ICP mentioned podacsting but I hadn’t seen that and what I saw was just a relist of the video.

Anyone else seeing any other entries for Universal results?

#5 Marc on 06.20.07 at 7:46 am

It can be daunting, and I describe it as tedious many times, but it is fun enough to cut into FPS rampages.

and if you cant adapt you are in for trouble considering the only thing that is constant is change

#6 kensavage on 06.20.07 at 8:27 am

So a guy at my work says to me, “hey my man. what’s new in the world of seo?”

Not wanting to blast him for his monthly stroll over to me to learn what’s going on and not following it himself, I kindly reply to him, “Google Universal.” I turn my back and then say nothing else. I’m hoping I blew his mind with the dramatic way I said it but I’m sure he walked away thinking I was rude.

it’s fun getting new media ranked for the same keywords.

#7 DaveStarr on 06.24.07 at 4:18 pm

A good attitude. The more avenues are available for search the more opportunities for SEO in general. As an outsider looking in for some years now I have been amazed at how supposed DEO ‘gurus’, who ought to be real innovators and implementers of new ideas tend to be plain old “stuck in a rut”, do the same thing day after day “plodders” like the swivel chair drones I worked with for yours when I had a government job. New avenues equal new opportunties for those willing to learn.