Universal Search: Universal search, also called blended search, refers to a search engine pulling data from multiple sources and providing results that include links to a variety of different online media, such as video, audio and images in addition to traditional web pages.

As Google's search algorithms have expanded to favor audiovisual content as much as --of not more than -- traditional text-based web content, universal search results have come to represent an astonishing 85% of all search results that Google delivers to users.

Not all types of web content appear in all universal search results, however. According to a Search Metrics study, video content appears in universal searches for 65% of keywords, images appear for 40%, news articles appear for 16%, shopping results appear for 6% and maps appear for less than 1% of keywords.

In addition to helping users find the content they're looking for more easily, universal search that includes varied types of content from a diverse selection of websites is beneficial to websites looking to increase their standings in search engine results. Being listed in a universal search is more effective at generating organic traffic than other common SEO techniques like pay-per-click advertising or sponsored listings, with which you get what you pay for, but nothing more than that.