One day short of exactly 6 years 6 months from the original announcement that Yahoo! was launching a new web search engine, Yahoo! began to hand over the organic results of the search platform to Bing. Seven days later Yahoo! became fully powered by Bing.
Yahoo! had been trying for so long to find its way in the haze of blue links. It started with purchasing Inktomi (2002) and Overture (2003) and experimenting with Product and News search features on Yahoo.com. However, the blue links got the best of Yahoo! and they struggled to offer the same level of relevance in their search results as (the 10,000 ton gorilla of web search) Google.
Bing powering Yahoo! is just the first change in a, hopefully, long string of changes to come out of the Yahoo! Search team.
Now that the blue link haze previously obstructed their view of the search landscape has been lifted, Yahoo! can refocus on their roots in innovation and user experience. Yes, Yahoo! has done really good things in the past. The latest example being that they originally invented Instant Search in 2005, a full five years before Google launched their own Instant Search capabilities.
Designing a new experience
First up, Yahoo! is looking to create a much richer universal search experience. Universal search was a game changer with images, maps, news, etc. integrated, in a brute force fashion, into the SERPs. With a bit of spare time on their hands, the Yahoo! Search team must have stepped back to realize that universal search is not implemented in any way, shape or form using modern design aesthetics. Leaving them pondering, how can we be innovative with universal search, improve user experience (to hold on to the ones they have left and have a shot at attracting more users) and do it in style?
What Yahoo! cooked up was a modern AJAX looking slideshow interface that will allow users to see universal search items like images, video and news about a search as well as expanded information like Twitter results, Discography (for artists/bands) and probably more but that is what we can take away from the screenshots they shared:
This new feature is focused on entertainment and news searches but I can imagine this interface could be adapted to many other types of searches that they have universal results for.
As the Yahoo! Search team begins their newly reinvigorated focus on innovative search experience, stay tuned for additional changes and the potential to wow-back users to the now 3rd ranking search platform.
And to take us home, I give you “Blue Link Haze” a parody of “Purple Haze” by Jimi Hendrix:
Blue link haze all in my browser
Lately things just don't seem relevant
Searchin' funny, but I don't know why
'Scuse me while I kiss the sky
Blue link haze all around
Don't know if I'm rankin' up or down
Am I on page one or on page three?
Whatever it is, that SERPs put a spell on me
Search me search me
Oh no no... no
Yeah, Blue link haze all in my eyes
Don't know if it's organic or paid
You've got me searchin, searchin my mind
Is it Bing or just the end of time?
No, search me aw yeah! oh no no oh search me...
About the Author; Matthew Diehl is a SEO Strategist with Charles River Interactive located in Lexington, MA (USA). At CRI he is tasked with setting and executing organic search strategies for a wide range of clients from multi-national B2C companies, localized SMBs and non-profits. Beyond The Trail, he also writes (more opinionated pieces) on his own SEO blog - you connect with him on Twitter @matthewdiehl. (more about Matthew)