Although search engines continuously evolve with new features, the essential purpose and experience of search engines has stayed much the same for several years now. Web searchers will enter a search query looking for specific information and the engine will return results based on the relevance and authority that is established for pages on the web in relation to the specific search keywords and phrases. The last step in that process is the user deciding which results to follow and exploring the information they find after selecting a result.
Now, Yahoo is trying to take the middle step out of this process according to Ethan Batraski, Director of Product Management at Yahoo, from an interview with The LA Times. Axis does not give a list of links with a description in the SERPs, instead snapshots of the different pages where the relevant resulting pages can be seen. This is very different to the experience achieved in standard SERPs. The question is will it work, and how does it impact search engine optimization?
This change should be seen in relation to the other features or advancements that are being released by other search engines as well that the best SEO companies are trying to understand and adapt to. Specifically, Google released the Google Knowledge Graph that matches information and the connections between different pieces of information to display data that the engine feels you will most likely be looking for. Although Yahoo sites have only 13.5% market share of search in the US, this Google feature and Yahoo’s Axis show that the battle in search is not slowing down, but picking up if anything.
A Closer Look at Axis
Yahoo is taking a proactive step to offer something different in terms of visually based search results, as several others have tried it with zero success before. The difference is in the mobile focus as it is being released as an app for the iPad and iPhone. With the mobile focus of the app, one of the main ease of use features is the ability of swiping through the results to go back and forth between them and being able to see the snapshots of the resulting pages. Previous attempts have not delivered this exact experience before, so Yahoo has a promising opportunity to offer something new and different that has a chance of catching on.
Ads are not included in the SERPs of Axis, so Yahoo is making a point to make it all about organic search results. This makes it that much more relevant for SEOs and companies who want to rank highly for keywords on the platform. To start out, websites want to do what they are doing for the standard Yahoo engine, taking into account that pictures and attractive web designs will greatly impact the click through rates as snapshots of the pages are the main part of the SERP results with this app.
More information will come out from top SEOs as this app is put into use, but it is likely that it will operate similarly to the standard Yahoo site in terms of search algorithm. Due to the mobile focus, however, local searching could be a favorite on the app, and local businesses should be aware of this, including attractive designs, photos, and essential information on their homepage as well as additional pages that when included in an Axis SERP snapshot, web searchers will be drawn in.
I am the head of insightQuote, Inc., a company that provides businesses with a method for getting quotes for a range of business services. I write mostly on search engine optimization and other related internet marketing subjects.
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