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Where Does Yahoo Fit Into Your Search Strategy?

Consider Yahoo's Audience and the Features They Use

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In search, a lot of what Yahoo has done has been overshadowed by what Google and Bing have done, simply because Google controls such a huge piece of the search pie, and Bing is still a relatively fresh entity. All eyes are still on Bing as it grows. That leaves Yahoo somewhere in the middle, where it technically sits in terms of market share.

How important is Yahoo to your search strategy? Let us know.

Yahoo has done quite a bit over the past six months, and has a lot more going on in the coming ones. Regardless of whether or not Yahoo’s deal with Microsoft finally goes through, and Bing takes over the algorithm side of things, Yahoo is still very much focused on search.

"Yahoo has been in search, is in search, and will continue to be in the future," says Yahoo’s new senior VP of search products, Shashi Seth. "We’ll continue to drive innovation. It’s our stake in the ground."

According to the latest data from Experian Hitwise, Yahoo’s market share in the U.S. declined by 2 percentage points from December to January as Bing and even Ask grew by 5% and 4% respectively. Regardless of this data, there are still plenty of people using Yahoo, and that means businesses shouldn’t ignore it. In fact, businesses should do all they can to understand the audience they are reaching with each individual search engine.

An interesting study from Wunderman, ZAAZ, and Compete suggests that the demographic and psychographic profile of each loyal search engine user is different. Bing users, for example, tend to be mostly from the tip of the adoption curve (innovators and early adopters) where Yahoo and Google’s passengers tend to be middle majority, according to the report from these firms.

Search-Engines

The point is that it is easy to get wrapped up in specific search engines, but Yahoo is still a key player and it is worth paying attention to all of the things they are doing to improve their own users’ experience, because you might find specific ways to reach Yahoo users that might be slightly different than ways you might try to reach Google users (or Bing’s users).

What Yahoo Has Done Lately

In September, Yahoo launched a completely new version of Yahoo Search. In addition to being faster, this new version included things like:

-  SearchMonkdey structured data, which lends to richer results from an increasing number of sites

- Search Scan and Safe Search, which help protect users from viruses, spyware and spam

- Search Pad, which lets users take notes for research as they search

- Query assistance, which has been extended in the left-hand column to let users browse concepts related to their queries

- Image and video search refiners

Yahoo has expanded its coverage for enhanced results to formats like video, documents, games, products, local businesses, events, discussions, and news. In November, Yahoo extended its Search Assist features from the web search box to the search box on every Yahoo property. They also began including photos, videos, and tweets about news stories in search results.

"We’re focused on making it easier to search for local businesses," says Larry Cornett, Vice President, Consumer Products, Yahoo Search. "Starting in December 2009, we display more Yahoo! local business shortcuts when you search for a business, even if you don’t include your location in your query. We also began providing new functionality directly within the local shortcut to refine results by neighborhood or nearby city right on the search results page. This further enhances an already great shortcut that provides more of the information you care about most directly on the search results page; including ratings, reviews, photos, and directions." (emphasis added)

In December, Yahoo started integrating tweets in the form of a shortcut from search results pages (separate from the news tweets) when users search for "buzzy" topics. Finally, Yahoo added more entertainment refiners within its image/video search products.

What Yahoo Will Be Doing

One new innovation that Yahoo unveiled this week is called "Sketch-a-Search". It’s a mobile app that lets users pull up a map and user their fingers to search by tracing a line around the area they want to search. An image of it can be seen here.

As far as advertising, Yahoo says it’s focused on three key areas: better value, transparency and control, and innovation. The company says it is making pricing adjustments, and will allow advertisers to pay different rates for different traffic sources across Yahoo’s network. The company said it knows most people focus most of their campaign son Google, and they’ve created an import campaign tool and a new desktop tool for Yahoo Search Marketing, which will be available next month. They are putting ads into Search Assist, and they’re doing re-targeting of ads based on users’ search history.

Do you like the direction Yahoo’s headed in? Do you use Yahoo for search? How important is it to your marketing strategy? Comment here.

Where Does Yahoo Fit Into Your Search Strategy?
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  • http://ebusinessmistress.ning.com Michelle Sollicito

    I have always loved Yahoo! I was an early internet adopter and my first home page was Yahoo! and I have been loyal ever since.. I am a power user for Messenger, Groups and various other Yahoo! bits and bobs.. I worked at Yahoo! for a short period of time, and my husband still works for Yahoo! So I am biassed (we also have a lot of shares!!)

    I think Yahoo! has suffered mainly from a PR problem. Google’s PR is awesome, and they managed to produce copy cat versions of tools and websites that Yahoo! had already produced, launch them in a blaze of publicity and make them sound cool and new, despite the fact that Yahoo! already had built it (and typically Yahoo!s was better at the time Google launched). Examples include the Google Toolbar (Yahoo! already had a toolbar), Google Talk (Yahoo! Messenger was much better) Google Desktop (Yahoo! already had an equivalent tool at the time), even Google Maps – Yahoo! Maps was better at the time Google launched Maps though I admit Googles is better now..

    Google’s new products often have a lot of bugs in them whereas Yahoo! emphasizes great software engineering principles internally and test the hell out of their products so its very rare to find bugs in Yahoo! code.. but Yahoo! has never been very good about singing its own praises.. Maybe that will change now as Carol Bartz seems better at it than Jerry Yang was.. I have noticed that Carol has very quickly made some awesome changes to Yahoo! and I hope they continue..

    However, there is one outstanding problem that never gets fixed that I personally believe eliminates a huge audience from Yahoo! The “All New” Yahoo! Mail is STILL broken – lots of people have posted about it, reported it to Yahoo! many times but still it never gets fixed. If you have any decent number of emails, its not possible to selectively delete your emails in pages – you have to either delete ALL of your emails or delete ONE BY ONE – which would take forever.. this is an oversight that is totally unforgivable and needs FIXING NOW!! Yahoo! Mail was a big factor in keeping Yahoo! users loyal and now new users are just flocking to Gmail instead..

    So if Carol Bartz is reading this – get this one sorted NOW Carol PLEASE!!

    I loved Jerry Yang and Filo and their whole philosophy building up the company in the beginning, and I think it went rather off course in the middle (Terry Semel was too concerned with making money and less concerned with good user experiences), but I feel Carol Bartz is now bringing the company back to what it needs to be – I feel Yahoo! is listening to its users better now.

  • http://www.g8marketing.com G8 Marketing

    As an SEO my main concern has always been the rankings on Google. Having said that Bing and Yahoo! are both worthy of keeping an eye on. In my experience you will draw more traffic from top rankings on Bing and Yahoo! than you will from an AdWords campaign.

    This is not always going to be the case as I’m sure there are expections out there but the point still stands. You would be better off investing time and/or money in top rankings on Bing and Yahoo! than taking up an AdWords campaign, assuming you had to choose between one or the other.

    I think there are some very interesting times ahead with Bing going hard at it coupled by the fact Bing and Yahoo! look like becoming partners in crime. I’m looking forward to watching it all unfold over the coming months and years.

  • http://medianowonline.com Yusuf

    In India SEO or traffic means Google. Anyway Yahoo is not so bad, but Bing is not attracting Indians.

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