Google Universal Search and your travel industry business. Are you ready?

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It was around a year ago when Google started going live with universal search .

The goals was to bring all the other specialised search results (from Video, Maps , Images , News , User Reviews, etc.) to the main web search portal.I think it is interesting to analyse some data and live examples, thinking about a strategy and then to give our travel readers some tips to be operational with this “new Google game”.

According to Google:

Google’s vision for universal search is to ultimately search across all its content sources, compare and rank all the information in real time, and deliver a single, integrated set of search results that offers users precisely what they are looking for. Beginning today, the company will incorporate information from a variety of previously separate sources – including videos, images, news, maps, books, and websites – into a single set of results. At first, universal search results may be subtle. Over time users will recognize additional types of content integrated into their search results as the company advances toward delivering a truly comprehensive search experience.

Some data about Google Universal Search

James Lamberti from Comscore give us some very interesting data.ComScore made a study during one week in January 2008 based on Google search queries observed through comScore qSearch.During this period they observed over 220 million Google searches containing a universal result, out of 1.2 billion searches overall:

comscore google universal searchclick image to enlarge

17% of the queries had a universal result 16% of total Google clicks were sourced from a page where a universal result was present 14% of paid clicks were sourced from result pages where a universal result was presentSo, it’s significant numbers for just a one week analyse and we see a good ratio for paid clicks.

update April 22: for futher information, please read the Blended Search Results Study from

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Some “travel” examples for Google Universal Search

Bellagio Las Vegas

hotel bellagio google universal searchclick image to enlarge

We can find :

35 videos from YouTube

and 2047 reviews (from TripAdvisor and some others)

Bellagio hotel fake review with Google Universal Search

Folks can easily write a review, even if they never stay at the hotel…try it right now if you don’t believe me or click on the image to read my “fake” review 😉

Disclaimer : I already delete this fake review after the test.


What does this mean for your travel business?

Well, Google is playing with all your data, playing with the user reviews data and with some others User Content data.

What are the Google goals with Universal Search?

  • Serving the most relevant result
  • Showing the best result that Google controls
  • Test and sales potential new product monetization

How you can have some “control” and “action” on the Universal Search?

It’s now or to late to play this “new Google game”?

What can be the strategy?

The ostrich strategy 😯

I guess thousand and thousand independent hotels and small travel Cies are not aware about Google universal Search.

They don’t understand the new search landscape and their risks and advantages .

School t to “store”

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They will take no action and will lost their organic search ranking.

The feeding strategy 😀

Feed each other with

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content because traffic come from different channel and Web 2.0 services.

At the end, Google search blended your “good” data.

>>> My tips for this strategy:

  • Post some video on YouTube and other video hosting services and take advantage of tags that the service offers. Videos could be about your product and your destination.
  • Add image description to your image files name (with brand name, your destination, your main product)
  • Think about Google Mobile Search because Google Mobile Search is changing:

Recongnises if you have a mobile optimised site
Priorities mobiles sites
Mobile Icon on search results

and maybe the next step will be inclusion in Universal Search

  • Watch all Google services because Google gives preferential treatment to its own content. But don’t hesitate to feed other web services and travel social network.


Time is changing and we need to anticipate the Google Universal Search impact in our travel business.

What are your thoughts about this?

Do you have other tips to share with us?

Give us a comment and let’s try to built a little piece of collective intelligence about this subject.

Credit : Google logo via


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Comment by Merrill
2008-04-21 19:18:05

Great piece of work. I have a question on one of the point raised in the article. Do you have any advice on how to get added to Google news ? Do you know of any blog that was accepted ? I was under the impression that Google was still restricting it to mainstream media.

Comment by Claude
2008-04-28 14:11:59


As far as I know, Google News can’t include sites that don’t have a
formal editorial-review process for submitted content and are not in process to index blog.

Suggest you use free PR web site that are scanned by Google and use Worpress tool, a better blog tool than Blogger.

Comment by Margaret Brown
2008-04-22 10:09:57

Very interesting I had not heard of Google Universal Search. It all bids well for the customer – we all strive for this – direct and straight to exactly what you want – cutting out overload of info we do not require. We in the travel business will have to up the anti to keep up – transparency is the new word! got to deliver – market well and in the right areas. For me this is exciting and a great challenge to be taken up.

Comment by Vicky
2008-06-09 16:54:08

Hi Claude,

Very interesting, thank you. I think that the map entry you mention is absolutely critical.

One of the impacts of Universal Search is a vertical creep – whereby the natural search listings get pushed down beyond the fold of the page, meaning even a good old style page one position is no longer enough.

Yet the map and the organic results beside it function like a great big eyeball magnet.

I would argue for businesses like hotels, its is the most impactful page one place they can be. (And its where I’d aim to be having my paid adds lining up too).

If you’re not already there, follow Claude’s advice and submit your business to the map via the Local Business Centre.



Comment by Anderson Marketing
2008-06-30 13:27:04

I have read a lot about this. I think it´s a chance for SEOs.

2008-09-01 15:48:45

[…] Tourism Internet Marketing by Jens Traenhart Google Universal Search and your travel industry business. Are you ready? […]

Comment by Mark Pickering
2009-01-09 10:41:06

Just when you think your getting to grips with Google, they change the rules! =) Well at least it keeps our jobs interesting doesn’t it!


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