Search Engine Book - Chapter Four
 by Ian Cook

Chapter Four
The Various Types of Search Results

When generating search results, search engines make use of many sources of information which include, but are not limited to, web pages, images and videos. We often refer to this as Universal Search.

High ranking success is dependent on learning where the search results are coming from so you can position your content accordingly. Keep in mind there are many different paths to the top of the search results.

For instance, some search results are heavily influenced by Personalization. This means the results YOU see from your hometown location might not be the same results that your friend in Seattle is seeing for the same search. That's because personalized search results can vary according to:

  • Reported Location
  • IP Location
  • GPS Location (Mobile)
  • Search History (signed-in / cookies)
  • Social Networks (Likes / Friends / Circles)
  • Device (Mobile / TV / Desktop)
  • Language
  • Previous Searches

You should expect each of the above personalized factors to significantly affect your search results.

Most search queries generate results from many different sources. Such Universal search results are pulled from a variety of sources like images, video, news, Twitter, Google+, Facebook and so forth. In the screenshot below we see our search for BMW generated AdWords (paid), a Knowledge Box, News, and organic results.

The content, source, and mix of Universal search varies greatly depending on circumstances such as, but not limited to, query, time, location, history, personalization, and so forth.

Sometimes Google generates an Instant Answer as seen in the screenshot below.

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