Yahoo Launches Google Instant Competitor – Search Direct

24 03 2011

Yesterday, Yahoo launched a new product called Search Direct – their answer to Google’s Instant Search.  Start typing at search.yahoo.com and a small widget-like box slides down, providing you with “search results as fast as a person types, character by character, and presents those results dynamically, generating a fast, simple search experience that goes beyond a list of blue links.”  And that’s the distinction Yahoo is trying to make with Search Direct, that they can provide “answers” and not an overwhelming blue links.

Just for the sake of argument, I tested Search Direct versus Google Instant Search.  Not surprising, Google came out ahead.  Using the same browser and not logged in to any accounts, it took me the full search for “weather 97212” to pull up today’s weather near our office here in Portland, Oregon.  Over at Google, all it took was a simple “w”.  Yahoo may try to spin it as a confusing mess of blue links, but Google has continually evolved rich results to include weather, local sports scores, and more.

yahoo search direct

Yahoo Search Direct

Versus

 

google instant search

Google Instant Search

Now that’s not to say Yahoo Search Direct won’t be a useful product.  First, the Search Direct box is the only thing that updates versus an entire page on Google.  So in theory results can be shown faster.  And currently, Yahoo is displaying results for about 15 different categories including sports, music, celebrities, shopping and local.  Yahoo also revealed that they are considering monetizing the Search Direct box by allowing advertisers to display images or videos on the right-hand side of the search box.

If you are a small business owner that falls within one of those categories (the Local category would be an obvious choice!), it’s another reason to make sure your site is optimized and even enhanced for elements like Rich Snippets. One example would be to format your brick-and-motor’s address in hCard so search engines can easily find your location.  Yahoo Search Direct also gives you another tool for keyword research.  You’ll be able to see some of the most popular results and identify new keywords to target in SEO or PPC.

How do you think Yahoo Search Direct will stack up against Google Instant Search?  Has your site appeared in the results?  Drop a comment and let us know!





Developing a Long-Term, Forward-Thinking SEO Strategy

21 03 2011

Many people look at SEO as a one time consultancy that’s a set it and forget it technique for driving increased leads/sales/traffic to their site.  But, taking a look at something as basic as a keyword research for your optimization efforts can tell a completely different story.  In addition, it’s vital that you hire an SEO firm that understands your industry and can demonstrate that knowledge before a contract is ever put in place.  You must be forward-thinking for a long-term strategy.  The best way to understand what’s going to happen in the future is to look at the past.

A Look Into the Past

A backward-thinking strategy is amazing if your industry is extremely cyclical.  For example, the automotive industry:

If you aren’t familiar with Google Insights for Search and are completely confused at this point – from Google: “The numbers on the graph reflect how many searches have been done for a particular term, relative to the total number of searches done on Google over time. They don’t represent absolute search volume numbers, because the data is normalized and presented on a scale from 0-100. Each point on the graph is divided by the highest point, or 100.”

In the graph above, you can see the comparison of four search terms: “2009 BMW,” “2010 BMW,” “2011 BMW” and “New BMW.”  The graph spans the time from January of 2009 until March of 2011.  The data is extremely telling.  Your first thought might be that if you’re optimizing a page for new BMWs then the keyword “New BMW” would be a given.  Diving into the historical data you can see that, just like the auto industry, the search terms are extremely cyclical in nature.  Due to the fact that the auto industry announces new models at the same time every year, you can see that traffic for the current model year is always higher than the search traffic for “New BMW” until around October when the next model year takes over.  Not to say “New BMW” shouldn’t be part of your overall keyword strategy, but you might want to reconsider a primary focus.

Thus, knowing the industry and having an ongoing, forward-thinking SEO strategy is of utmost importance.  Any on-site changes must be implemented at the proper time in order to capture the flip in search traffic for the next model year.

What industries have you seen the same type of trends?  Leave me a comment and let me know.








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