Although Google introduced universal search in the US in 2007, it is still a relatively new feature in Europe – and it therefore presents "a huge opportunity" for brands to steal a march on their competitors, according to one expert.

Writing on Search Engine Land, Bas van den Beld said universal results include videos, images, news and maps, as well as the standard text links.

When using search engine optimisation for these elements, advertisers should first check where these results are available – the UK has Europe’s most advanced search by virtue of using an English index.

They should concentrate on the "low hanging fruit" of video to start with, ensuring clips and descriptions are tailored to the different languages of their target countries.

"Get in there, make videos, optimise your images and get your local results included. Now is your chance to be the first," Mr van den Beld said.

Google recently redesigned the appearance of its results pages to include a universal search tool that allows users to switch between different categories of information.

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