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 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



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!

Can Yahoo “Bing” It On?

5 08 2009

Google isn’t always the answer to every online advertiser’s goals and objectives, especially those in small, niche markets.  Surprise.  What small and local businesses need is a search engine and ad platform that can be the second major component in their company’s SEO, PPC and online advertising efforts; making their online marketing mixes more powerful and effective.  The introduction of the Yahoo-Bing search collaboration could be just what businesses have been waiting for.  Two heads are always better than one, right?

Yahoo-Bing Search Engine

Yahoo-Bing Search Engine

So, what will this search engine fusion mean for small and local businesses?  The outlook is positive.  By combining two of the search world’s top players (let’s not forget that Yahoo was once at the forefront of search, until Google came along and stole their thunder) the outcome should be a more powerful, relevant organic search and an adCenter that rivals Google AdWords.  It should become a real, competitive alternative to Google paid and organic search.  Small, local and niche businesses will no longer be forced to struggle against the mass of Google search, but will be able to get effective and comparable results from Yahoo-Bing.  Perhaps Yahoo-Bing local search will also evolve to be more powerful for local companies.  Certainly the resources are there to make it happen.

While Micro-Hoo is definitely not going to replace Google, nor is it likely that it will come close to un-seating Google from their throne or become the “second Google”; the merge will help bring the scale to Bing that was lacking from their original 8.4% market share.  Bing is the superior search engine with a better and more efficient adCenter, while Yahoo owns a larger share of paid advertisers, but has a cumbersome ad platform (as well as lacking an offline Editor which is tedious for search engine marketers who manage paid campaigns on Yahoo).  By gaining Yahoo’s search traffic, search data, online inventory, combining industry strengths and joining them with the search power of Bing, it should bring credibility to the Yahoo-Bing hybrid and make it more appealing to searchers and advertisers.  Hypothetically, Bing-Hoo should be able to use this wealth of data to refine their search algorithms and improve results relevancy to become a viable competitor in the market for the first time.

While the question remains, can Microsoft and Yahoo combine forces to keep up with Google’s constant innovations and new technology to benefit searchers and advertisers?  Their shot together is definitely better than it was apart, as they will face Google with a more robust market share, resources and creative and engineering minds.  Or, will this new challenge just propel Google to innovate better and faster?  Whatever happens (for the better or for worse of searchers, advertisers and businesses) changes in the search world are inevitable, and this move was the only one left to respond to Google’s continual rise to power.  If Microsoft and Yahoo are true competitors, they have what they need to be able to “Bing” it on in 2010.

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