What is Universal Search?

Universal search is search that allows Google to show images, local businesses, rich snippets, and more right on the SERP. In the past, Google only showed links from other websites when a user typed in a query. Now, Google uses universal search. This refers to Google’s ability to take results from a few different verticals and combine them into a single SERP.

What is universal search in SEO?

The types of content that will appear for a query will vary depending upon what people commonly look for with a particular question. For example, you might see that a search for the query, ‘the United States’ returns a mix of images, news articles and standard websites:

On the other hand, the query, ‘how to separate egg white’ will give you a Google Quick Answer, a video, and text results:

Maximizing your visibility online, therefore, requires you to understand your position in universal search and find ways to improve your ranking.

How do I rank well in universal search?

  1. Understand your rankings and those of your competitors intimately. BrightEdge’s Competitive Analysis, powered by Share of Voice, can help you see how your content compares to that of your competitors and what is giving them an edge over your own material.
  2. Create content that people want to engage with and share. Google watches user signals, including the click-through rate and the time spent on site. The more your readers engage with the site, the better off you will be.
  3. Do not neglect local SEO, which can be a big component of blended rank—particularly with the local 3-Pack. Keep your business results updated on social media and all your web properties. In particular, make sure that your NAP—name, address and phone number—are correct across all social sites and online listings. Use location-specific keywords in places such as the title tag and the URL.
  4. Use schema markup to ensure that the algorithm understands the content on your website so that its appearance can be maximized. With a complete markup, you can trust that any opportunities for rich snippets that arise will be used. It will also help Google identify relevant images, videos or other types of content that might be applicable in certain searches.


Blended search is an important part of modern search because it means that your ranking is not just a competition against other, similar style content pages. You also have to consider the other types of content that will be included, such as images. Taking the time to maximize your exposure in the blended rank will help you see the best results possible from Google search.


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