Universal Search Study 2015

In 2007, Google started enriching organic search results by showing boxes with additional media, like videos, images, maps, shopping results or news. These elements on the search engine results pages are commonly called “Universal Search” (sometimes also known as “Enhanced Search” or “Blended Search”). Depending on the audience and the goals of your website, Universal Search might be important, since these elements are known to improve the click-through rate.

During the course of the year 2014, Searchmetrics analyzed the search results on for millions of keywords to find out how often Universal Search elements appear in search results.

Key Findings

  • Universal Search Overall: According to the study, 74% of all search results were enriched with Universal Search elements, which is about the same share as in the previous year (76%).

  • Maps: You will see that local search is in transition when you look at the Maps elements among search results. These have increased from 3.5% to 9% in 2014 (see green line in diagram).

universal search integrations comparison
  • Shopping: Google Shopping (also known as Product Listing Ads, PLA) was the winner in terms of relative growth. While shopping ads had a share of 5% in January 2014, it had increased to 17% by December 2014.

universal search product listing ads
  • Videos: Videos are still the most common Universal Search element, but its share is getting smaller. In January 2014 57% of all keywords showed a video element, in December 2014 the share was down to 47%. While YouTube’s fraction of all video elements started at below 50%, it rose to 87% by the end of the year.

universal search video integrations
  • Images: Image elements were steady and had a share of 45% in December 2014.

  • News: News elements stayed at a similar level as well. In January news was added to 7% of all keywords, while this ration was at 5% in December 2014.


The full Searchmetrics study is available as a free download (German only).

Do you have any questions about Universal Search or to SEO in general? Contact me, I will be happy to assist.