Search Engine Shortcuts

    August 3, 2004

As search engine use continues exponentially, there are apparent trends that searchers are employing when they perform queries. The most noticeable being that search engine users are mainly interested in results that appear on the first page of the SERPs (search engine results pages), or the “10 blue links”, as they are called by Daniel Reed of Ask Jeeves.

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“10 blue links” refers to the top ten listings of a search engine query result page. The fact that users are focusing on just these results have caused major ripples in the search engine industry. For one thing, this type of searching is responsible for the SEM/SEO market being as successful as it is. Providing a service that will help businesses appear on the first page has become very valuable.

However, it’s not just the marketing and optimization services that have noticed this trend. The search engines are very aware of this type of behavior, and because of this, they are beginning to offer a multitude of features that will help users receive the most relevant results to their queries. Google, AOL, Yahoo, and Ask Jeeves discussed a number of these search options during the Search Detours: Beyond The Top 10 session of the San Jose SES conference.

The features that are being offered by these engines are referred to as search engine shortcuts. As Ken Norton of Yahoo says, shortcuts exist to “get users to an answer faster than web search results themselves.” Examples of these shortcuts are airline/flight search, sports scores, movie times, and calculator functions, just to name a few. As stated, the major search engines incorporate these features, either within SERPs (AOL, Yahoo, Ask Jeeves) or as an alternative to standard search (Google).

Google’s Marissa Mayer reinforced this thinking by saying; “top ten results aren’t always the best way to go about getting the right answer for your query.” For examples of these features, the links below will direct you to each search engine’s list of features:

Google Labs
AOL Search

Chris Richardson is a search engine writer and editor for WebProNews. Visit WebProNews for the latest search news.