BtoB: Are marketers cognizant of blended search?
Most marketers that stay on top of the market have been aware for the past 14 months or so, and a lot of them are aware of the ramifications. Some of us saw this coming two to three years ago and [began] preparing clients' Web sites for it back then.
BtoB: What's the advantage to marketers that take the time and expense of tagging nontext content like images and video?
Therein lies the very crux of universal search. Your elements, your digital assets can be found external to the Web pages in which they reside if they've been tagged and are relevant to the [search] query. If you do a Google search on “auto insurance,” in the top three or four listings is a funny video. [The video's creator] displaced big insurance com-panies that spend millions in search marketing because he properly optimized his video.
BtoB: Will blended or universal search change SEO strategies?
Yes. It is responsible for the rise of a new acronym: DAO [digital asset optimization]. It means optimizing every digital asset [some of which] might not be on your Web site. Marketers have to change their thinking. Video is a very powerful, nontext point of entry. It's a fantastic way to not just to get rankings but to drive conversions. The video can have links embedded in it back to a site or landing page.
BtoB: What first steps should a marketer take regarding blended search?
An inventory [of your digital assets] is the best first step. Then find out if any of this has been distributed. Once you answer to those two, then proceed on to what your goals are.
BtoB: What if your company sells a service not a product?
[You can still post a video] showing consultants in action. One of the best ideas is to take the transcript of the video and put that in the metadata of the video.
Damon Abramson is director of search at Sapient Corp. (www.sapient.com).