Add3 – Digital Marketing Agency with offices in Seattle & Portland

Today, Yahoo announced upgrades to its search engine designed to “…make it more helpful and engaging…” These improvements mark the most significant change to Yahoo’s search engine in the last 3 1/2 years. (Remember when Yahoo search was powered by Google?)

These improvements are aimed more at helping searchers find what they are looking for by improving the interface rather than in algorithm changes. I should point out that helping users find exactly what they’re looking for by helping them refine searches helps out site marketers too. It makes that “long tail” of search even more appealing. See “Inferences” below.

We applaud Yahoo – many will decry these improvements as lagging behind those already made by rivals Google & Ask (see our earlier post about improvements at Ask). We really want to see Yahoo succeed, and any strides made at improving the end-user experience should help.

So – we decided to put Yahoo’s new features to the test today by searching for a trailer for the recent release of the Halo 3 video game. Specifically, how will Yahoo guide me to my desired result when I just type “Halo 3” into the search engine

Searching Yahoo for a Halo 3 trailer – from the Home Page

The first thing you’ll notice when you start typing into Yahoo’s search box – they provide the visitor with refinements to their query via a drop-down box. When I type in “halo 3”, the box gives options like “halo 3 review”, “halo 3 release date”, “halo 3 trailer” (BINGO!)


Mission accomplished I guess, but let’s take a look at how Yahoo presents the content in different scenarios.

Searching Yahoo for a Halo 3 trailer – from a Results Page

There are actually two versions here. The first shows what happens if I go to the “halo 3” results page – you see a traditional “also try” set of links.


And, if one was to start typing more words into the search bar, then the drop down box appears again to guide our query.


Searching Yahoo for a Halo 3 trailer – from a Results Page

So, when we actually get down to a “halo 3 trailer” search, you’ll see that Yahoo has elected to display video thumbnails in the search results.


Note – perhaps if (Halo 3 developer) had properly optimized their site for search, their trailer thumbnail would show up in the results as well? It should come as no surprise that Microsoft owns Bungie…

And, if you click on the ‘play’ button, the video will actually play in-line. Pretty cool.


Inferences: Universal or “Blended” Search & SEO, Long-Tail Keywords and PPC

Yahoo’s interface improvements, and specifically our search for the “halo 3 trailer”, demonstrate the importance of:

  1. Leveraging all of your content for search
    1. With blended search – optimizing your video, images, audio & more for search will help your site get found for what it offers.
    2. Related Posts
      1. Google’s Universal Search Rollout – Fear Not!
      1. SES San Jose – Image & Video Search Optimization
  2. The importance of optimizing the content you have for the most relevant phrases possible, ie – “long tail” keyword phrases.
    1. By helping users refine their query, site marketers can place even more importance on laser-focusing their content optimization efforts on what a site actually has to offer (“halo 3 trailer”), rather than competing for a presence on broad category phrases (“halo 3”)
  3. Pay-Per-Click search marketers stand to gain from refined search queries as well. One could assume that by helping visitors refine their search queries, PPC search marketers will see more impressions from long-tail keywords

Ben Lloyd

About Ben Lloyd

Ben Lloyd serves as Principal at Add3 and manages the agency's Portland office.  Ben got his start in SEM way back in 1999 - when there was like, 15 search engines and Google was barely a thing. Prior to Add3, Ben had founded Amplify Interactive in 2003 (which was acquired by Add3 in 2013), and hasn't looked back since. Ben likes lots of stuff like golf, pinball, food(ie), booze/beer/wine - in that order, etc. Mostly - he likes doing that stuff with his friends. Ben is also co-founder of SEMpdx. Connect with Ben on LinkedIn

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